Small businesses are no stranger to digitization, with a recent report from Deloitte highlighting the focus on IT investment for the small- and medium-sized business. Yet ongoing talent shortages remain a key hurdle to SMBs’ efforts to digitize, researchers noted.
In its report, “Technology in the mid-market,” Deloitte found more than half of executives at small- and medium-sized businesses plan to spend more on IT this year than they did last year. One-third said they plan to spend at least 5 percent of their companies’ total revenue on IT projects, including hardware and software.
Operations is the area of business that these professionals expect to be most disrupted by digitization, followed by customer service and marketing.
As SMBs heighten their investment in IT and digitization efforts, hiring qualified talent will be a critical component of their strategies, Deloitte found, with 46 percent of professionals reporting that they plan to hire more people as part of this effort (compared to just 26 percent who said they are hiring fewer people).
“If companies can reorient their teams to realize the greatest benefit from emerging technologies, and if companies can redesign jobs to make it easier for people and machines to work together, business leaders assert they can achieve a stronger position in the marketplace,” Deloitte’s report concluded.
Yet a tight labor market could present a significant hurdle for small- and medium-sized businesses to move forward with their digitization plans.
Earlier research from Stripe found businesses agree that hiring qualified software engineers and developers is a major problem in their overall digitization and technology efforts.
“Senior executives feel the threat of tech industry competitors most acutely, which is why they’re prioritizing investments in infrastructure, R&D and recruiting over the next five years,” Stripe stated. Yet 61 percent of C-suite executives said a lack of access to qualified developers is a significant threat to their firms — meaning this concern has now surpassed worries over a lack of access to finance, noted Stripe.
Similar concerns may arise as executives build out their IT staff, as Deloitte research suggests they’re planning to do.