According to new research carried out by hardware vendor Dell in association with the Institute of Directors, 84 per cent of UK small and medium sized businesses see technology as being key to the future growth of their business. The Dell/IoD Business Technology Trends Survey 2004 was carried out via the IoD’s website in June of this year and polled 562 of the institute’s member organisations about their current and future IT plans.

The survey revealed that while 48 per cent of companies which responded had dedicated IT departments to handle their computing systems, 21 per cent said that their technology infrastructure was run by a manager with other key responsibilities aside from IT. Just 23 per cent of respondents make use of external suppliers to manage their IT systems.

The responsibility for IT purchasing fell to the managing director in 31 per cent of organisations, the IT director in 19 per cent, and the financial director in 12 per cent. The average annual IT spend came to #160,000. Businesses with under 10 employees had a yearly IT budget of #13,500, those with 11 to 100 employees averaged at #84,900 and those with over 100 employees spent #556,000 a year.

The survey clearly showed that wireless technology is finding a foothold in UK business culture with 57 per cent of respondents claiming to use wireless technologies in their organisations. Unsurprisingly security related issues topped the list of key IT concerns, with data security, disaster recovery and spam featuring as the top three areas for concern.

When asked which technologies they would most like to implement if given an open budget, secure wireless computing and browser based PDAs topped the wish list.

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