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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 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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Techaisle study reveals four pillars of midmarket digital transformation

Operational efficiency, employee empowerment, customer intimacy and product innovation form the four pillars of digital transformation within US midmarket (100-999 employees) firms. Techaisle’s unique study, US Midmarket Digital Transformation Trends, provides readers with statistically-significant and current data on digital transformation. A sample of 876, outstanding for a single country, midmarket-specific research initiative, considered accurate at a 95% confidence level (19 times of 20) at a margin of error of +/- 3.3%. The study reveals details about the four foundational pillars of digital transformation along with drivers, motivations, challenges, inhibitors, and business outcomes.

The first step in understanding the potential of a technology trend is identifying the extent to which technology aligns with or supports executive ‘care-abouts’: technologies that connect directly to C-level objectives are most likely to obtain corporate support. Taken together, the size/robustness of the data makes it the most reliable source of information on digitalization adoption in the US midmarket (100-999 employees).

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