73% of SMEs who don't use resource planning and workflow management software are "constantly" or "frequently" held back by errors in manual processes. 67% of businesses do not use a form of customer relationship management system (CRM). 26% never upgrade their ERP, CRM or project management software.

A recent survey by Applied Business, providers of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, discovered that 73% of SMEs who aren't using any form of workflow management software are "constantly" or "frequently" facing errors in manual processes.

Half of the respondents also admitted to never carrying out daily backups of IT systems, indicating that a considerable number of files, data and customer information could be lost.

Computer Hard Drive (PD)

Having No CRM Throws Away Opportunities

67% of those surveyed admitted to not using any form of CRM. A previous survey conducted by Applied Business also found that 28% of businesses believed manual operational errors were frequently affecting their CRM.

A strong CRM helps a business to organise and segment their customers based on their interactions with the business and maintain stronger relationships with them, providing more opportunities to upsell. Furthermore, a streamlined CRM is crucial to delivering a competitive edge by retaining existing clients through outstanding service.

Resistance to Change Delaying IT Updates

Change is a big deal to an organisation that is still using traditional methods or antiquated IT systems. According to the survey, 81% of respondents who aren't using a CRM admitted "not knowing where to start" is the main change management challenge they face: 41% of all respondents said that not knowing where to start was the biggest hurdle.

Respondents also acknowledged how employee resistance is a major barrier, delaying system upgrades and achieving organisational change.

Having No ERP Results in Poor Workflow

73% of businesses who constantly or frequently face errors in manual processes are not using resource planning or workflow management software. For some businesses, poor project management could put their reputation on the line and seriously affect revenue.

Disaster Recovery Plans

When asked how often "do they back up their business systems and files", 50% of respondents confessed to not conducting daily backups of IT systems. This represents a much higher potential risk of suffering losses due to having a lack of suitable systems in place and poor project management.

A thorough backup and recovery plan could make or break a company in the event of a disaster, which was the case for Zurich Insurance when they were fined £2.3 million after losing the personal details for over 48,000 customers during a routine data transfer to a data storage centre in South Africa. Considering the enormity of the data transferred, backing up the data beforehand could have prevented this catastrophe and the resulting damage to their reputation (source BBC).

How Often Should You Upgrade or Change Your Software?

Only 55% of businesses have updated their ERP, CRM, or project management software in the last two years, whilst 26% say they never upgrade theirs.

Running on outdated software can seriously affect productivity, but constantly changing software would cause mayhem in any operational environment. So, what's the answer?

Employee resistance was found to be greatest for businesses that change or update their systems every three years, compared to shorter or longer time frames. On average, planning for updates, upgrades, or changes every two years reduced employee resistance.

About Applied Business

Applied Business have been providing specialist business management and accounting (ERP) software to UK based SME businesses for over twenty-five years. As dedicated software partners for Greentree and Pegasus Software, Applied Business aim to maximise their clients' return-on-investment from their software by driving continuous improvements in efficiency and productivity.

Survey Methodology

Applied Business surveyed over 250 UK SME managers and owners between 28/07/2017 and 30/07/2017 regarding whether they perceived that their current procedures (i.e. such as workflow management, updating software and any disaster recovery plan) are having a negative effect on their business. Applied Business then analysed the responses and published the findings.

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