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2018 Top 10 SMB and Midmarket Business Issues and IT Challenges and IT Priorities

They are here - Techaisle's annual SMB and Midmarket Top 10 IT Priorities, IT Challenges and Business Issues infographics. This is the 7th year of Techaisle tracking at a WW level and is much sought after by IT vendors, channels and media. There is an ongoing trend – in both the buy-side and supplier communities – towards positioning IT initiatives and expenditures in a business context.

To help readers connect positioning with core market drivers, Techaisle research provides insight into the most pressing business issues, IT priorities and IT challenges faced by small (1-99 employees) and midmarket (100-999 employees) businesses in 2018.

For 2018, Techaisle investigated 21 different technology areas, each with several sub-technology categories, 24 different IT challenges and 24 different business issues. At the request of our clients, this year, not only are we releasing data & infographics (shown below) as usual for SMBs (1-999 employee segment), Midmarket (100-999 employee segment) but also for Small businesses (1-99 employee segment).

In 2018, the new and upcoming IT Priorities within SMBs are Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) and Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Within midmarket firms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) appears for the first time for 2018. Workplace transformation is one of the new top IT challenges for SMBs – number 1 on the list for midmarket firms and overall at number six across all SMBs. This obviously points to a need for unified workspace experience. In addition, Cloud orchestration and integration are among the top five key IT challenges for both SMBs and midmarket firms.

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Techaisle midmarket study shows cloud maturity does not always equal high digitization

Techaisle’s US midmarket digital transformation trends study shows that maturity of cloud adoption does not equate to high digitization of the business. Study data shows that only half of the 47% of mature midmarket cloud adopters are holistic adopters of digitalization. It is true that these firms believe in cloud and its effect on digitization but they also believe that true digital transformation requires advanced adoption of multiple technology solutions. Data also shows that the midmarket firms that have a siloed strategy of digital transformation are intermediate adopters of cloud, mostly driven by non-IT business units which need cloud to further their business objectives.

However, it is also clear from data that the Holistic segment includes a disproportionate number of mature cloud adopters, and mature cloud adopters in turn are much more likely to be Holistic in their approach to digitalization than firms in the intermediate category. A smaller (7% of total) third group of midmarket businesses, ‘born in the cloud’ (i.e., have all IT resident in the cloud) largely echo the patterns of the mature cloud users.

From a digitalization product/service marketer’s perspective, this is an important finding: it shows that those who can identify mature cloud adopters are likely to find greater receptivity to their messages and offerings than those that engage equally with the similarly-populous group of intermediate (in terms of cloud adoption) midmarket businesses.

High adoption of diverse technology solutions determines digitalization success

Even considering planned adoption, Siloed midmarket digital segment is likely to remain far behind the Holistic midmarket digital segment. The Siloed segment even lags being in the technology areas which midmarket firms see having the most impact in their business for the next 5 years.

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Techaisle survey shows SMB BDM involvement in IT security operations is minimal

A trend that is frequently discussed in industry journals revolves around the growing involvement of business decision makers (BDMs) in the IT acquisition process. There is a further issue that is not generally the subject of trade publication articles, though: the extent to which BDMs are going beyond system selection and acquisition, and involving themselves in IT operations.

To obtain some visibility into this issue, Techaisle asked SMB & Midmarket survey respondents (reported in three of Techaisle reports: 1/ SMB & Midmarket Buyers Journey 2/ SMB & Midmarket, ITDM vs BDM Decision Process) to identify the party (ITDM or BDM) most responsible for various aspects of cloud and mobility security. The results both provide insight into the IT operations activity levels of BDMs, and into potential issues that might arise as a result of ad hoc, unplanned and business driven IT purchases (or shadow IT).

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Techaisle midmarket survey reveals holistic digital transformation strategy yields better business outcomes

Midmarket firms that adopt a holistic organization-wide digital transformation strategy are growing at 2.2X vs. Siloed digital transformation strategy. They are also experiencing 2.1X business process cost reduction, 1.9X better customer intimacy and 1.4X improved employee productivity vs. Siloed adopters. Techaisle’s US midmarket digital transformation trends study shows that it pays to have an organization-wide, holistic digital transformation strategy. Survey of 876 US midmarket firms reveals that Holistic adopters are experiencing better business outcomes than Siloed adopters of digital transformation.

We are all responsible for the pace of change – and to ensuring that it benefits rather than threatens our success. Nowhere is this clearer than with digital transformation – the adoption of digital infrastructure as the foundation for digital business processes, which enhance operational efficiency, employee empowerment, product innovation, customer intimacy, competitiveness and profitability throughout the organization. Businesses that embrace digitalization are more agile, more adept at using technology to accelerate cycle time and expand reach, better able to respond to market opportunities and requirements – while those that are left behind face an uncertain future in which one wrong step can lead to diminished business viability.

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