European SMEs confident about business growth aided by ICT investment

Most European SMEs are confident about business growth, helped by technology investment, according to Vodafone research.

Over 1,700 SMEs across six European countries, including the UK, were questioned, and around half said their businesses were "performing more strongly than two years ago", and 80 percent are now confident that their businesses "will grow over the next two years".

In addition, 82 percent of European SMEs said they had seen direct business benefits from previous ICT investment, with 88 percent citing improved customer service as a key outcome.

And 68 percent are planning on further ICT investment to enable a "deeper and more responsive level of customer service" and to "support more flexible and productive working practices".

Tablets are set to become the predominant focus of ICT investment for European SMEs, with adoption predicted to increase from 54 percent to 73 percent of businesses over the next year.

A rapidly growing proportion of European SMEs plan to increase their use of cloud storage in the future too, with adoption of cloud services set to rise sharply from 44 percent of SMEs across Europe to 60 percent over the next twelve months.

Other priority investment areas for SMEs are smartphones and 4G mobile data services.

Vodafone group enterprise chief executive Nick Jeffery said: "SMEs are the engine room of the European economy. It's striking how businesses in towns and cities across Europe share a common view that further investment in technology will be critical to future prosperity."

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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