Published on Sep 13, 2016

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Last month, Suncorp released their “Cost of Being Connected Report” which reveals Aussie small and medium businesses are increasingly digitally savvy and reliant on technology to conduct their business and remain connected.

The report defines being ‘connected’ as spending time and money on technology-related products and services. This includes computer hardware, software, telecoms, the internet, IT support, digital marketing and online tools used to engage with customers, partners and staff members alike.

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The report confirms Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are more connected than ever.

In fact, SME’s are reportedly spending an average of $17,332 per year to remain connected. These findings highlight businesses value their online connections. However, staying connected comes at a cost – not simply financial but in time and human resources.

Sole traders spend the least on staying connected outlaying $6
,000 on average and medium sized businesses spending almost $175,000.

The highest proportions of this spend is comprised of telecommunications and internet, followed by hardware, and IT development, support and maintenance.

Unsurprisingly, digital marketing and monitoring has become a key component to conduct business. It was found 34% of SMEs are using unpaid social media to reach their customers and 28%  are utilising direct email marketing.

Being connected may be a catalyst for business change by accrediting higher value to good customer service.  Amongst surveyed SMEs, 94% deemed customer satisfaction as a key indicator of business success more so than financial performance (86%).

The digital revolution is also evolving the traditional hours of when SME’s are doing business. Unsurprisingly 70% of respondents stated “traditional business hours are a thing of the past: we work whenever our clients and customers need us most”.

With a 9-5pm working availability no longer relevant to many customers, 65% of SMEs agreed that customer expectations on speed and timeliness of response has continually increased over the previous 5 years. 57% agreed that technology has been fundamental to keep up with this demand.

Going mobile is crucially important to SMEs in Australia with 70% responding they used mobile devices.

Despite increasing costs, technology is now dominant in the workplace.  Going digital has provided small businesses with the ability to reach more customers, provide higher levels of customer service leading to customer satisfaction and is changing the way in which we do business.

For more information on SMEs being connected please read the  Cost of Being Connected Report.

The Cost of Being Connected Report was conducted in July 2016 across 703 Australian SMEs (excl. NT). business-online