Many small businesses may be struggling to keep up with the larger market thanks to low budgets, but it's becoming increasingly important for many to add new functionality to their services for multiple reasons.

Preserves reputation, keeps customers happy
According to the Oak Ridger, a recent small business survey found that more than 90 percent of consumers would at least consider moving their business to another location if they were to find a company uses outdated technology, from older computer systems to less active technology.

Respondents noted a variety of benefits to choosing companies with proper services, including increased convenience and improved customer service.

Specifically, about three-fifths of consumers consider outdated technology to be systems that are at least five, and as many as 10, years old. This is only taking more precedence in the marketplace when as many as 30 percent of small businesses are still running Windows XP, which is now 12 years old. The Windows XP issue is especially pertinent, as after April 8, Microsoft will no longer release any updates or security protection for the operating system.

Allows worker flexibility
The Guardian adds that another perk of updating hardware or equipment infrastructure is in increased flexibility, which can improve worker happiness and reduce business costs without major costs being levied at the company itself. Company approaches have ranged from Web and video calling technology to online document sharing or online hosting of company applications.

This has allowed many businesses to improve their working practices, keeping overhead costs low by allowing employees to work from home or local areas with Wi-Fi. Being able to work on their own time has been said to make employees more productive and satisfied with the job itself.

One company in particular that implemented unified communications has seen a wide improvement across the company. Thanks to its new VoIP services, the company was able to save 60 percent on conference calls.

Digital communication has also allowed for managers to give their employees more freedom. One company that implemented remote working and flexibility in the workplace say employee satisfaction spiked from 61 to 85 percent in just six months.

Another company noted that online sharing and conferencing saved more than $8,000 monthly.

IT and tech industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in information technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.