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Research finds SMEs overwhelmed by social media and communication technology

Research finds SMEs overwhelmed by social media and communication technology


New research has revealed that SMEs are becoming overwhelmed by the noise and distraction of social media channels, communication technology and networking platforms, which are failing to help businesses collaborate with specialists and experts, limiting innovation.

In a survey of over 100 organisations conducted by Whitespace, three out of five SMEs said that they found the current plethora of collaboration tools frustrating and 78% said that they found traditional social channels both noisy and distracting.

Sixty-eight percent said that they spend more time than they’d like sifting through communication tools to find content relevant to them.

Conducted to assess the collaboration landscape and whether current technology solutions deliver the needs of modern organisations in a digital era, the survey found that SMEs are searching for a solution that covers all aspects of collaboration – fitting seamlessly with their existing IT – to inspire innovation and new product development.

Specifically, 64% said that they wanted targeted collaboration communities that are relevant to their interests, expertise and profession.

Three-fifths of SMEs wanted access to high-value communities of influential individuals, where they can hold safe and secure discussions. Over half wanted just one place for online communities, workspaces and client portals, saving time and increasing productivity.

The findings of the research show that SMEs are particularly interested in finding ways to collaborate externally with experts whom they otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Three-quarters (75%) said external collaboration was important to access skills that they don’t have internally, while nearly three out of five SMEs said that collaboration helped them think more creatively to provide innovative solutions.

SMEs also stated that they are interested in enhancing internal collaboration, with the ability to share materials and documents remotely and securely being highly valued. This was seen as an area of particular importance to enhance their ability to work from anywhere. The majority (68%) said better internal collaboration helps their businesses think differently or more creatively.

Andrew Webber, Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer at Whitespace, said: “The need to reach out to colleagues and external parties, using technology that makes discussions safe and secure and the sharing of documents instantly without fear of security breaches is particularly important to SMEs. 

“They know that collaboration is vital to the success of their work, scoring it nine out of 10 for importance. The Shift collaboration platform gives organisations their own collaboration space integrated with their existing IT infrastructure, into which they can invite their staff, customers, clients, colleagues and partners to experience a seamless online business development environment. This delivers the high level of curated collaboration that SMEs are crying out for.”

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