BT has launched a new online tool so that small businesses in the West Midlands can assess whether their technology and communications performance is "obese" or "underweight" and find tips to keep their IT healthy.

Using the BT Business "Tech Mass Index" calculator at, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can calculate how well their IT is supporting their business.

All they need to do is enter in the amount of time and money they are spending on IT, their size, the sector they are in and their location, and the online calculator will provide them with a "fitness assessment" specific to their business along with tips on IT health.

A new report commissioned by BT Business found that more almost a third (29 per cent) of small businesses in the West Midlands rely on informal advice from friends and colleagues when making their technology purchasing decisions.

Getting a good return on investment (ROI) for IT and communications is vital to small businesses, but many could be suffering by making badly thought out investments – around 40 per cent of SMEs buy new technology for their business at least three times a year without preparing a plan which supports company growth.

Instead of concentrating on running their own business, many company directors seem to find themselves concentrating on running their IT.

Four in five (81 per cent) of company directors in the West Midlands are personally responsible for making buying decisions about the company’s technology with over half (57 per cent) also responsible for its maintenance.

Technology that could be driving business efficiency and success can instead add to their workload, taking up unnecessary time and energy.

Fifty three per cent of the West Midlands small businesses say reliability is as a major technology problem, with 54 per cent claiming data loss was also an issue within their company, but over half (53 per cent) of SMEs never conduct annual health checks of their equipment and 47 per cent do not even bother to measure the ROI of the new kit.

Paul Evans, BT local business regional director for the West Midlands, said: "We are constantly being reminded of the importance of keeping ourselves in shape. The same message applies to businesses.

"By checking their fitness on the ‘Tech Mass Index’, SMEs can see how they might save valuable time, money and free their resources to focus on managing their business, ensuring that they are in the best possible shape for the future.

"It is critical that owner-managers ensure they invest in the right technology and through our work with SMEs, we know that many who dreamt of running their own business find they more often feel like they’re running their own IT department.

"That’s why we’ve recently launched BT Business IT Manager, and can now offer SMEs the opportunity to get on with running their business while we manage their IT in the way that best suits their business."n For further information about BT Business IT Manager, customers can call free 0800 022 3072 or visit