A new survey of small business owners suggests that small businesses are struggling to find the right targets for their technology investments.
Research from Capterra published on Tuesday (Nov. 20) found that small businesses are overlooking technologies that their customers want or that may improve their operations, including chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI).
While nearly two-thirds of U.S. millennials say they want to engage with a chatbot when communicating with a brand, less than 30 percent of small business leaders across the retail, construction, manufacturing and services sectors are incorporating chatbots. Banking and financial services SMBs lead the way in small business chatbot adoption, but even this market only sees a 35 percent deployment rate.
Of the 700 small business leaders surveyed, Capterra also found that less than one-fifth use artificial intelligence, despite a significant portion of these firms acknowledging the importance of AI for their firms and industries. When small businesses do decide to invest in AI, they should target their accounting, file storage, communication and CRM processes, Capterra noted.
The Internet of Things is another area of technological innovation in which small firms are skeptical of its value. Researchers found that while nearly half of the small businesses surveyed already use IoT technology, only about one-third say the tool is critical to their business.
“One of the biggest threats in the small business leader’s buying journey is making a technology investment decision in isolation,” warned Capterra Senior Content Analyst Lauren Maffeo in a statement. “Shopping in a silo can prevent leadership from understanding what it takes for teams to get new technology up and running.”
Maffeo added that small business leaders are facing key challenges when making their technology investment decisions.
“They may not have the time, resources or patience to adequately research and compare options,” Maffeo continued. “Small business leaders who make decisions alone may also lack expertise in the technologies they’re buying and have organizational ‘blind spots.’ All of these factors make communication with colleagues and industry peers essential during the buying process.”