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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

SMB analytics begins with cloud and provides answers to business issues

Techaisle recently analyzed 1,116 survey responses that provide insights needed to build and execute on analytics strategies for targeting the small and midmarket customer segments.

SMBs are prioritizing a wide range of improved outcomes within their businesses: improvement within existing operations and processes, expansion of the customer base, profitability, creation and accelerated delivery of new offerings, reduced cost, and enhanced ability to manage the unknown. Remarkably, each of the top SMB business issues can be addressed with analytics solutions – and indeed, SMBs are using analytics to address each today. Overall, SMB analytics investments are being driven primarily by productivity and process improvements with the top two reasons for SMB investments in analytics solutions as increased productivity and improved processes.

Regardless of the business issue, analytics provides an answer. And SMB analytics begins with cloud. More than 50% of both small and midmarket businesses consider cloud to be an essential analytics technology.

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Role of BDMs in SMB IT solution adoption

Typically, IT suppliers focus on product or service transactions – the point at which a buyer commits to a contract with a specific seller. IT vendor compensation plans are structured around the transaction, and lead funnels captured in CRM and marketing systems coalesce around this event. And because IT professionals are often engaged in signing contracts for IT products and services, vendor sales and marketing initiatives often key on the IT function.

From a buyer’s perspective, though, the solution adoption cycle is much longer, and commitment to a specific product or service is less important than establishing the business context that drives the need for investment, and the processes needed to ensure that the business obtains anticipated value from this investment. Before they commit to a contract, organizations need to identify the need for a new solution, align the need with strategic and operational plans, and identify and evaluate solution options. Once the product/service is acquired, the buyer’s process continues: the business still needs to deploy the new technology, train IT and business users on its features, evaluate the effectiveness of the solution in meeting current requirements, and optimize the solution over time to maximize returns.

Techaisle conducted a unique survey of SMB organizations. To understand the current state and implications of distributed IT influence and authority, Techaisle surveyed roughly equal numbers of business decision makers (BDMs) and IT decision makers (ITDMs) across seven employee size categories, and then analyzed results to create a unified view of the new decision authority realities.

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SMB Cloud CRM adoption journey points to accelerated digital transformation

Techaisle’s detailed SaaS adoption survey tracked the current and planned buying journey of cloud CRM, ERP and other SaaS applications within SMBs and Midmarket firms. Cloud orchestration & digital automation have become essential ingredients for business transformation. Techaisle analyzed the extent to which use/intended use of each of these cloud applications is connected with other applications and whether they are part of a conscious effort for digital transformation. The two sets of figures below show past and planned CRM and its adjacent SaaS applications adoption journey.

The research reveals a very stark difference between the past cloud CRM adoption journey and the intended path after adopting cloud CRM for the first time. The past adoption patterns were seemingly random reacting to a specific point of pain, but planned adoption is deliberate keeping in view the business issues & IT challenges and taking giant steps towards a connected digital business.

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SMB mobility security percolating to the top as threats increase

Techaisle’s US SMB & Midmarket IT Security Adoption survey finds a mismatch between business confidence in mobility security and actual exposure to threats and mitigation actions and investments. Figure below illustrates respondent perceptions of current mobile security preparedness. In the US, roughly 20% of both small and midsized businesses report that they are “fully prepared and confident” with respect to mobile security, and more than twice as many state that they are “as prepared as can be,” while acknowledging that “requirements will change” in the future. Altogether, nearly two-thirds of small businesses and three-quarters of midmarket firms categorize themselves as being in one of these categories, with only 5% of small businesses and 2% of midmarket respondents reporting that they are “not very well prepared.”

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