Less than a quarter of small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the UK opt for expert consultant help when it comes to guidance in technology purchases.

A survey of business owners by Buffalo Technology found that only 21 per cent would opt for turning to a consultant for advice on buying IT solutions, while 66 per cent opted for advice online and a third relied on magazines and media. Furthermore, 63 per cent of those surveyed did not feel confident in the IT buying decisions they made.

More than half of small businesses and more than 60 per cent of medium businesses said that they plan to spend from one to 20 per cent more on technology solutions and services this year.

Paul Hudson, sales director for Northern Europe at Buffalo Technology, said: “As technology becomes increasingly important to the day-to-day running of a business, it is integral that the channel know and understand what IT decision makers need. With the economy on the rise and more people investing in technology, what better time to ensure that the correct strategies are in place.”

Anthony Perridge, EMEA channel director at Sourcefire, said: “I'm not that surprised with these findings, particularly at the SMB end of the market. Vendors are advertising the fact that solutions work out-of-the-box and in some cases they may well do, but on other occasions, the plug-and-go mentality isn't going to provide for the specific needs of the business.

“Just look at the security market, there is not one network and everyone has different network applications, different scenarios, so an out-of-the-box system isn't always going to work because actually, network security and compliance is actually quite complex.

“It does sound like a channel opportunity if for some reason people aren't calling for help, but this is likely due to the fact that they expecting plug-and-go solutions. It's easy for vendors to tout these, but SMBs need to realise that internet and online help may be a great start; however they are probably going to have to pick up the phone to call someone in at some time. Therefore, go to an expert - the same as you would for anything else that is important to your business like audited accounts or tax returns.”