Approx. 60% of small and medium sized enterprises use IT services in Poland. Some 30% of SMEs declare to employ people responsible for IT. The number of portable computers used by SMEs has been growing. On average, there are five such computers per one SME. The proportion of companies which use EU funds to finance ICT development has gone down over the last two years.
Use of IT services
According to the latest survey by PMR, a market research company, almost 60% of SMEs in Poland use third-party IT services. Most of them are medium-sized businesses with high revenues (practically all companies with revenues of more than PLN 50m and just above a half of companies earning revenues of up to PLN 2m). The figures show that within two years since the previous edition of PMR’s survey the use of third-party IT services has decreased (while the number of companies relying exclusively on their own IT departments has grown). The most commonly used third-party IT services include installation, technical support and maintenance of hardware and software. Every fourth company chose to hire a third-party IT service provider to install new software.
Employment of IT department specialists is not very popular in the SME sector. On average, only every third company (31%) has such an employee, and for the whole sector the average number of those employees is one. The presented data clearly show that the employment of an IT worker depends more on the company size (overall number of employees) and the sector it operates than on the company's volume of revenues and profitability. “Medium companies twice more often employ IT department specialists, and they almost thrice times more frequently have at least two employees of that department. The indicator for financial enterprises is more than twice as high as the average for all SMEs” – comments Pawel Olszynka, PMR analyst and the author of the report which is based on survey results.
The use of computers in the SME segment in Poland has reached a relatively high saturation point. Practically all small and medium-sized enterprises have a desktop computer (if not, a portable computer) and more and more frequently declare that they use laptops, netbooks or tablets. Thanks to the steadily increasing computational power (which now makes it possible to work on office applications with economic IT solutions), portable computers are becoming a practical alternative to traditional desktop computers. On the other hand, the substitution is limited because, among other things, the comfort of work on desktop computers with larger displays is higher.
The average number of computers per one SME has remained practically unchanged for two years now. What has changed however, is the growing share of mobile solutions. In 2010 mobile devices represented 27% of all hardware used by SMEs, relative to 30% in 2012. An average SME in Poland has 10 desktop computers and 5 portable computers. Please note that these are average data and the actual number of devices used by a company depends on its size and revenues, whether or not the company has a foreign investor and on how many branches it has. Having more such devices is an immediate consequence of business expansion, which would be impossible to perform unless the use of IT solutions was increased.
As for the time after which companies replace computers, there are basically no differences – desktop computers are used for five years, while portable devices for four years, on average, regardless of the size of enterprise. Compared to two years ago, the replacement cycle and the life of computers are becoming longer, although not drastically longer. The longer replacement cycle comes as no surprise. Besides the obvious cost-cutting and savings aspects, hardware which is even several years old now can operate smoothly with most of the widely available and used office applications. For example, the last version of Microsoft Windows 7 was advertised as software which can be installed on computers which use Microsoft Windows XP (launched in 2001). No wonder the time after which companies decide to purchase new desktop computers has been steadily, though only slightly, increasing.
Despite the intensive media campaigns and even though it is being stressed how beneficial it is to business development and innovativeness, the use of EU funding to finance ICT projects is rather scarce in the SME sector. EU funds are far more frequently used by medium-sized enterprises which earn higher revenues, operate on a larger scale and have branches. Still, only every twentieth company with 50-249 employees said that they use EU funding to finance ICT projects. This is a decrease on the figures from the 2010 edition of our survey (9%).
The data discussed above is taken from PMR’s survey conducted in Q1 2012 on a stratified sample of enterprises with 10-49 employees and 50-249 employees. We did not survey businesses operating in public administration, education, uniformed services, healthcare or associations. We conducted a total of 789 complete interviews. The findings of the survey may be generalized to all Polish enterprises with 10-249 employees operating in the following industries:
• Wholesale and retail
• Continuous production, mass production (production of beverages, food, chemicals, etc.) – also called “process production”
• Discrete production (production of machinery, equipment, ready-to-use metal objects, furniture, etc.)
• Hotels, restaurants, catering
• Public utilities (heat and power co-generation plants, sewage treatment plants, water management plants, etc.)
• Other services (such as construction, real estate trade, telecommunications, IT) – this group is included in all the general data lists for the purpose of computing the average values (shown in tables and charts as SME) as well as for preparing other statistics in the report.
The findings may also be generalized separately to small enterprises (10-49 employees) and to medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees). We estimate that the entire SME sector – i.e. enterprises with 10-249 employees, registered and operating in Poland in the industries listed above – comprises about 94,100 businesses, of which about 79,250 are enterprises with 10-49 employees, and about 14,900 are businesses with 50-249 employees. The findings of our survey may be generalized to these numbers of companies. In other words, figures provided by the interviewed companies with 10-49 employees are representative for about 79,250 businesses, and the responses from the enterprises with 50-249 staff are representative for about 14,900 companies.
This press release is based on information included in the PMR report "Software, ICT services and infrastructure in small and medium-sized enterprises in Poland 2012".
For more information on the report please contact:
tel. /48/ 12 618 90 00