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IT professionals in UK SMES admit they aren’t familiar enough with current cloud or IT security trends to make the right decisions for their business

  • Almost one third of firms believe lack of technology integration and complexity of systems means they don’t make the most of their investment in IT
  • Just over 20% are relying solely on internal IT resource, highlighting that this approach can result in a lack of independent and expert advice when it comes to investments
  • Just under half of businesses believe they were poorly advised from the beginning when it came to their IT investment.

19th July 2023 – Despite an increase in investment in IT post-pandemic, a majority of IT professionals in UK small and medium sized businesses admit they aren’t familiar enough with key IT areas such as cloud or IT security to make the right decisions for their business. The research released today by Sharp, a major provider of business technology products and services to small and medium enterprises across Europe, shows a clear and concerning IT knowledge gap amongst smaller firms in the UK.

The research is part of a pan-European survey of 5,770 professionals in SMEs, responsible for purchasing IT, on confidence in capabilities and barriers to investment over the next 12 months. Less than half of those surveyed felt knowledgeable enough on the benefits of cloud (40%) and IT security (44%).

Beyond cloud and IT security, businesses also admit to lacking the right knowledge in critical areas such as network limitations (66%), specifications of IT hardware (64%), software licenses (63%) and Office 356 opportunities (63%).

When it comes to making the most of investments already made, IT professionals admit a lack of integration with other systems (25%) and overly complicated software and systems (25%) are barriers to getting the best return. Managers’ lack of knowledge (23%) was also cited as a critical factor in preventing businesses leveraging investments effectively. 

Colin Blumenthal, Vice President, IT Services at Sharp Europe, comments:

“In a challenging economic climate, smaller businesses are focusing on efficiency, productivity, profitability, and getting the right value from investments they are about to or have already made. But with technology continuously evolving and becoming more complex, sometimes that isn’t as easy as it might sound. Given this, expert advice should always be sought to ensure the right decisions are being made, particularly as SMEs across different industries have specific needs.

Unfortunately, expert advice on IT investments is found lacking by UK businesses. Almost half (42%) believe they were poorly advised from the beginning and didn’t have good enough ongoing advice and support. In addition, just over a quarter of businesses believe that a lack of employee understanding (26%) holds them back. Less than a quarter (23%) currently have a person responsible for IT internally.

Across Europe, making the most of investments in IT over the last few years is ranked as highly by European small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as finding new talent, however the challenges for those in the UK focused more on the rising costs of doing business.

For more insights and advice on how to make the most of your IT investment, please visit:

Notes to editor


The research was conducted by Censuswide between 1st February 2023-13th February 2023 and responded to by 5,5770 IT decision makers and people responsible for purchasing IT within SMEs, from 11 countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. 

About Sharp UK

Sharp UK is the UK operation of Sharp Europe, offering an integrated range of technology and IT services to businesses and organisations, improving performance and enabling the workplace of the future.

With 15 offices throughout the UK, Sharp serves the private and public sectors, Education and Government, with services that include managed print, IT support and telephony, visitor management and meeting room solutions, audio visual technology, right through to workspace design and furniture installation.

Sharp UK focuses on making technology easy, taking the time to understand customer specific needs, and creating seamless solutions that work.

For further information, please visit

About Sharp Europe

Sharp Europe enables small to large enterprises and organisations to enhance performance and adapt for their workplaces of the future through a range of business technology products and services. Headquartered in London, Sharp Europe serves customers in the private and public sectors, Education and Government, a portfolio ranging from printers and advanced flat screen technologies, collaboration platforms, through to IT services. As part of Sharp Corporation, and with the backing of Foxconn, Sharp Europe is investing and leading the industry in new areas of technology that have the potential to change the world. It developed the world’s first commercially available 8K monitor and in 2019 launched the world’s first certified Windows collaboration display.

To find out more about how Sharp Europe is changing the future of work, please visit