Almost half of UK firms wait three years before updating their technology equipment, according to IT systems provider Equanet.

The Dixons Retail-owned IT provider surveyed more than 800 IT managers of businesses in the UK about the integration of new technology, and found only one in five (19 per cent) updated their technology hardware annually, and that 47 percent only updated their systems every three years.

The majority of respondents blamed outdated software (81 percent) and outdated hardware (67 percent) for preventing commercial efficiency.

A third (35 percent) said the cost of maintaining old equipment was prohibiting their efficiency.

Equanet said that money for IT investment was not reaching UK businesses. It found that 55 percent of UK businesses have tried to take out a bank loan to fund IT, but that only 42 percent were successful.

Faced with this lack of cash, two in five (41 percent) of businesses say that financing options are "essential" to remain competitive. However, nearly two-thirds (60 percent) have never used financing options when purchasing IT equipment.

Phil Birbeck, managing director of Equanet, said: “Outdated technology is the noose tightening around UK business’ neck. Options such as leasing or bring your own device (BYOD) need to be nurtured, otherwise the only certainty for UK business will be that in 10 years time we will have completely lost the ability to compete in the international market."

Leasing may be one way to enable IT upgrades but the cloud is reducing the amount of capital expenditure needed at many firms.