Q&A: Graham Palmer, Intel UK MD

We spoke to the UK managing director of chip giant Intel to get his thoughts on the company's recent Small Business Index research and industry at large changes during the past year.

Surely it must be difficult to convince SMEs they need to continue to spend when budgets are smaller than ever?

SMEs are trying to juggle an increasingly difficult set of priorities all the time. It's about trying to maintain the conversation that gets SMEs to realise that IT is a key part of their offering in terms of delivering what it is they're delivering to their customers. It's also key to being more efficient.

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If they've got sales guys on the road, then being able to, very quickly and in a very simple way, remotely diagnose what's wrong with a laptop can get your very precious resources back up and online more faster. As a small business, you're more dependent on your limited people so your IT needs to be even more tightly managed and controlled.

You can absolutely understand why IT investment falls down the priority list.

There's clearly no substitute now for the transacting speed of business that IT offers.

You can absolutely understand why IT investment falls down the priority list. However, as an industry we need to ensure that SMEs, just like large businesses, are away of the legal responsibilities they have around customer data. And, how at the same time, they need to continue to be flexible and innovate and secure their equipment.

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We've all seen the stories of people losing laptops and USB sticks. But many modern laptops have technology built into them that enables them to be remotely disabled. SMEs may hold lots of highly confidential information on such devices and distribute it in this way. As such, security is a key part of the puzzle. It's not expensive either and it's already included in most of the technology available to SMEs. It enables them to make the most of the billions of dollars of investment the likes of Intel and others in the industry are making to help them become more efficient and more secure.

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It's about having that conversation to ensure IT doesn't drop of the list in terms of priorities.

There's lots of talk of the consumerisation of IT and bring your own device (BYOD). This wave is both an opportunity and a threat so how do you go about convincing smaller businesses, with small resources, this is a good thing?

The scenario you paint is very accurate for large and small businesses alike.

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