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U.S. SMALL BUSINESSES USE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL FOR SURVIVAL, ACCORDING TO IBM SURVEY

    ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. small business owners say information technology is critical to their companies' overall survival, according to the results of a survey of 500 small businesses conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for IBM.  The survey also indicates that many small businesses plan to increase spending for computers and services in 1993.
    Aimed at determining current and future uses of information technology, the survey reveals that an overwhelming 95 percent of small business owners say information technology is critical or important to their success, as well as providing a tool for expansion and growth.
    The survey of presidents and owners of small businesses with 1,000 employees or less was conducted between Dec. 11, 1992, and Jan. 11, 1993.
    "Small business owners clearly are savvy about how information technology systems work and the benefits they hold," said Wirt Cook, general manager, General Business Distribution, IBM US.  "They want information technology to help them become more responsive to customer needs, understand cash flow, increase profits and manage resources."
    Most small businesses are sophisticated users of technology, according to Cook.  More than 60 percent have had systems in place for at least six years, and nearly half of them plan to increase investments in information technology in the future.
    "Increased productivity and efficiency are the primary reasons for choosing a system, as well as cost saving," said Cook.
    Future technology requirements include more customized hardware and software plus faster, more powerful equipment, according to survey respondents.
    "There is a large, untapped potential for companies that can help small businesses expand their information systems," said Cook.  "The survey results show that small businesses are looking for more knowledge, guidance and services to help them with their use of information technology."
    The survey was commissioned to pinpoint the information technology needs of small businesses for the more than 5,000 companies that are part of IBM's Business Partner program.  IBM Business Partners provide small businesses with information technology solutions and services.
    IBM and its Business Partners cite several success stories which demonstrate that the effort to provide information solutions is paying off for small businesses.
    For instance, computers were the strategic weapon The King Company, a Texas-based watch distributor, used to double revenue to $25 million in two years.  To keep pace with its accelerated growth, the company installed an Application System/400(Note A) (AS/400(A)) to beef up its information system and totally integrate its business accounting applications.  According to Sterling Woody, chief operating officer of The King Company, "The AS/400 gave us the ability to offer services the competition can't match."
    When Anderson Lock Co., Des Plaines, Ill., experienced a 25 percent jump in sales within weeks after publishing a new catalog, their IBM RISC System/6000(A) information system handled the orders easily.  "We were able to respond quickly to our customers and take advantage of the opportunity," said Gene Anderson, owner.  The company has a 12,000 line- item inventory and 5,000+ customers.
    Z-Mart, a Florida-based retail department store, saved $15,000 on inventory and payroll costs by installing an AS/400.  "IBM and its Business Partners provided everything: hardware, software, training and an extended service contract," said Z-Mart President Charles Howze.
    Responding to customer needs was the driving force behind a computerized reservation system set up by 45 golf courses and 17 hotels that are part of the golf resort area of Myrtle Beach, S.C., called the Grand Strand.  Now, starting times are booked in a matter of minutes, not hours or days, using an IBM RISC System/6000.  More than 2.7 million rounds of golf played in one year alone had a total economic impact on the area of $350 million.
    IBM Business Partners provide marketing, support and application software for IBM products.  They serve hundreds of industry segments.
    (A) -- Indicates registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation.
    -0-             02/22/93
    CONTACT:  Ray Meurer of IBM, 914-642-6349
    (IBM) CO:  INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION IN:  CPR ST:  NY,FL


-- NY067 -- X384 02/22/93
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 22, 1993
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