New research from Vodafone Ireland has found that SMEs are upbeat in their outlook for the year ahead, despite the threat posed by Brexit with almost two thirds (62%) claiming that the health of their business has improved in the past 12 months.
The survey was commissioned to mark the official launch of Vodafone’s ‘One Net Business’ unified communications solution, which allows SMEs to combine all of their communications tools into one solution hosted on the cloud.
Results show that the past 12 months have been positive for the majority of SMEs that were surveyed, 66% are positive and confident about the next 12 months, 61% felt that the overall health of their industry has improved and 59% said that Ireland has improved as a place to do business.
In terms of the challenges that SMEs are facing, 67% said they are concerned that they may miss out on business opportunities due to poor communications infrastructure while 61% stated that it can be difficult at times to coordinate communications between their business and clients /customers.
Twenty five per cent of employees in SME’s surveyed said that they have personally missed a call or email which lead or resulted in a missed business opportunity.
The research also had some compelling insights into how SMEs are running their businesses in Ireland in 2017. Sixty three per cent of SMEs surveyed provide mobiles, tablets or desk phones to its employees and nearly three quarters (73%) said that they and their staff have a high to moderate level of flexibility where they work.
Ninety six per cent of those surveyed have a website and 68% have a social media presence. However, only 34% have the ability to process orders online.
Speaking about the findings, Enterprise Director at Vodafone Ireland, Anne Sheehan said, "It is great to see a significant proportion of SMEs have a positive economic outlook and are recognising that improved technology can play a critical role in strengthening their business."
She added, "The research highlights how important connectivity is to help Irish SMEs reach their full potential, with 94% of SME’s agreeing that that high speed broadband is critical for running a business."