ISPs Misreading Net Needs Of Smaller Businesses, Study Says - InformationWeek

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ISPs Misreading Net Needs Of Smaller Businesses, Study Says

Internet service providers seem to be misinterpreting the needs of small businesses, according to a new survey of small and midsize businesses by the Yankee Group. "ISPs are selling them high-end E-commerce products when what they really need are basic communications tools," says Chris Gwynn, a senior analyst in the Yankee Group's Internet market strategies program.

The Yankee Group survey found that fewer than a third of the small (two to 99 employees) and midsize (100 to 499 employees) businesses have even connected to their customers and suppliers. Furthermore, only 30% said the Internet was important to achieving business goals. And although 61% of small businesses and 82% of midsize businesses report they have some form of Internet access, only 50% of all PCs within small businesses and 31% of all PCs within midsize businesses have Internet access. And only 31% of small businesses and 51% of midsize businesses have any company Web presence at all.

But perhaps most striking to Gwynn is the lack of awareness among the surveyed companies. A staggering 55% of small businesses and 66% of midsize businesses without Internet access have no plans to add it. "I had an image of the [small and midsize business] market being the model for the new type of company being innovative and technologically savvy," he says. "But actually, they are the exact opposite. They don't really understand the opportunities the Internet represents." Which leaves the door wide open for those that do.

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