Small Businesses Eye Cloud, IoT Investments in 2015

One-third of small businesses are ready to deploy IT to take advantage of the Internet of Things, according to a recent survey.

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Small businesses are ready and willing to invest in IT upgrades, according to a recent survey of 500 small business owners conducted by Brother International.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they’d prefer to upgrade IT rather than stockpile cash, representing an 18% increase over 2010 when Brother conducted a similar survey.

Overall, two-thirds of small business owners said they want to make tech changes this year. Forty-one percent are especially ready to spend on tech if it increases revenues by five percent or more, according to the survey.

Currently, 62% of small businesses use cloud technology. Their top reasons include easier data access, storage and analysis. Thirty-four percent of respondents said cloud technology has worked to reduce IT costs.

Looking ahead, one-third of respondents plan to deploy technology to take better advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT). Thirty percent also plan to start accepting mobile payments from customers.

"2014 was a big year for mobile payments, as tech giants like Apple helped push mobile payments into the limelight, and other media reports would indicate that more and more consumers are opting for digital wallets and mobile payments as their method of choice," John Wandishin, vice president of marketing for Brother International, told eWEEK. "It’s also important for small business owners to be aware of all the ways the cloud can be good for business."

Wandishin noted that cloud services can help small businesses better manage business cycles since services can be increased during growths spurt without a capital investment in additional technology that goes unused during business lulls.

"What’s great about the cloud is that you’re just renting what you need from the services provider and not buying costly new software or hardware," he said.

Survey results also indicate that given a choice, 38% of small businesses would replace their current laptop computers, 21 percent would replace their printers and 20 percent would change out their mobile devices.

In other findings, 35 percent of small business owners want to limit taking on so many roles and responsibilities; 26 percent want more time off, and 20 percent want better work/life balance.

Still, stress levels are holding steady for small business owners, with 42% reporting a high level of stress due to the economy. The figure is unchanged from last year and down 16 percent from a 58 percent high recorded by the survey in 2013.