Technology: SME Friend And Foe


Technology has the power to help a business rise up from the competition. From spend data analytics to cybersecurity detection, innovative tools in FinTech enable companies to gain visibility into the performance of their business.

Small businesses, too, have an appetite for technology. But for smaller companies, procuring technology can be a financial and administrative burden, and a lot of times, the problems that can be solved with technology were created by technology in the first place.

This week, in our B2B Data Digest, PYMNTS examines how technology is both making life easier and harder for small business owners throughout the globe.


$2.3 billion was spent on procurement outsourcing last year, according to analysis by Everest Group, with companies looking to third-party players to manage procurement for two reasons. The first is to reduce costs; the second is to gain great analytics capabilities. According to the report, providers of outsourced procurement solutions are turning to robotic process automation technology to meet cost reduction needs, while remaining vigilant on invoice management and fraud prevention. Analytics, similarly, support cost savings and minimize risks for corporate clients, the report added. Outsourcing the procurement function is becoming an increasingly popular way for companies to obtain the power of cost reduction and analytics because they often don’t have the internal data analytics capabilities to obtain these benefits on their own, said Everest Group.


$740 million went unclaimed by SMEs simply because they forgot to cash a check last year, meaning mobile remote deposit capture (mRDC) technology providers have a major opportunity to push their solutions into the SME market. That’s according to a new report by WAUSAU Financial Systems and Celent, which emphasized the increasing popularity of mRDC technology, enabling consumers and large businesses to deposit their checks from a mobile device. While the technology saves the time and hassle of going to a physical bank branch, WAUSAU said small companies have yet to fully embrace such tools.


78% of U.S. SMEs are unprepared for a cyberattack, according to the Nationwide’s Small Business Indicator. The technological capabilities of cyberthieves are growing more sophisticated, and small businesses need to get proactive in adopting technology that can prevent, identify and remedy any potential data breach. But according to researchers, SMEs have yet to implement the appropriate technologies and protocols to handle a cyberattack, despite the fact that the majority of businesses surveyed said they had already been victim to at least one attack. Not being ready is costly: According to Nationwide, 60 percent of SME cyberattack victims said it took more than a month to fully recover from the event.


60% of SMEs continue to depend on manual invoice data entry in their procurement departments, according to the latest report from Tipalti. The continuing reliance on manual processes also plagues the remittance notices and payment issue resolution processes, the report added. Three-quarters of companies surveyed said their suppliers are onboarded to their payment systems manually, while compliance and tax processes similarly lack automation for the majority of respondents. So, why aren’t small businesses adopting automation technology for their procure-to-pay needs? Tipalti also found, interestingly, that the error rate of manual data entry in this area is quite low — just 1 percent for companies that remit more than 500 payments a month.


20% of companies told researchers that expense and cash flow management is the biggest challenge for a financial manager when it comes to T&E, according to the latest findings from Concur and Forrester Consulting. That hurdle was the top listed by survey respondents, though risk mitigation, revenue growth promotion and financial analysis were also commonly cited. The issue, Concur concluded, is that the technology to manage corporate expenses and travel spend needs to evolve along with the technology used by the travelers. That means adopting mobile and digital tools for professionals to use while on their business trip, while automated data capture solutions can help financial managers keep employee spend in line.