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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.

Techaisle research shows SMB and midmarket technology purchase process becoming more complex

We are in the midst of a transition from an IT industry shaped by small decision making units (DMUs) comprised of IT professionals to an industry that must respond to the varied needs of BDMs and ITDMs. This makes for a very complex selling environment; many IT suppliers would no doubt like to have ‘the genie hop back into the bottle,’ as many members of their sales and marketing teams lack the skills and understanding needed to sell to BDMs.

Techaisle research on SMB and Midmarket buyers journey and decision-making shows that ITDMs and BDMs have differences in ‘care-abouts, are focused on applying IT to different business objectives, have different perceptions of success measures, and use different information sources. The data is not only helpful in building relevant marketing messages, but also serves to underscore the complexity of working with a diverse DMU. This DMU becomes further complicated with the presence of IT conversant business specialists (embedded IT staff), increasingly residing within line of business units, reporting to business, and away from IT.

  • Business management has seized a much greater role in technology acquisition, deployment & management than IT management – varying from 3.4X in “needs identification” to 2.0X in “solution evaluation & selection”
  • Within small businesses, business management plays a more influential role than IT in five out of nine stages of technology solution adoption
  • Within mid-market businesses, role of business management is predominant in the first three stages of decision making (needs identification to solution options), equal to IT in the next two (solution evaluation & selection) and substantially higher than IT in the last two stages (determining solution effectiveness and optimization)
  • In nearly 1/4th of small businesses and slightly over 1/3rd of medium businesses, technology specialists (embedded IT staff) are employed within Business Units not reporting to IT management. In nearly 50 percent of midmarket firms that have IT specialists, they are the primary decision makers
  • Determining the need for new cloud business applications is the prerogative of business management. The balance of authority within SMBs is nearly 7:1 in favor of business management except in the case of mid-market businesses where it is nearly 2:1
  • Ad-hoc purchase and deployment of new cloud business applications is prevalent within 22 percent of mid-market businesses
  • In 15 percent of SMBs budget for new business application is usually created at the time of ad hoc decisions for purchase to meet business needs
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US SMB and Midmarket Hybrid Cloud penetration likely to jump by over 100 percent

Techaisle SMB & midmarket cloud adoption survey shows that if US businesses follow-through with their plans for adopting hybrid cloud or for that matter, different types of cloud, then hybrid cloud penetration will have the highest jump within the SMBs, by over 100 percent while the Enterprise segment is likely to see a huge jump in public cloud adoption.

techaisle hybrid penetration resized

However, it is not a “gimme”. While it can be said that a hybrid model for IT service delivery is the reality for most organizations, it can also be said that smaller business may find reliance on public cloud services a simpler option. This is because hybrid IT, or hybrid cloud environments, are also the most complex to manage: while legacy systems, processes and thinking may inhibit cloud adoption, different business segments that are increasingly involved in procurement decisions may opt for siloed cloud application delivery without regard for the organization’s broader technical or overall process goals. And use of hybrid cloud will continue to increase as both a conscious strategy and as a reaction to use of both public and private resources within a single infrastructure.

A surprising outcome from the above chart is the decision trend of enterprise customers to embrace public cloud as the enterprise segment is finally finding that public cloud offers various benefits such as IT cost reduction, increased agility in business operations, increased scalability and flexibility. Public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud approaches each offer unique business benefits to the adopting organization. While public services can deliver rapid scale for temporary workloads or support smaller businesses that find appeal in OPEX procurement models, private cloud can deliver scale at better cost in some circumstances, while hybrid cloud offers better, faster access to formerly siloed sources of information.

Another view of the data collected in the surveys provides fascinating insight into the extent that cloud users are willing to align different delivery methods with internal requirements. When responses are taken from the small, mid-market and enterprise respondents and graphed in terms of cloud delivery method usage, Techaisle finds that there are pockets of demand (and overlap in these pockets) that exist for public, private and hybrid models in each market segment.

Related Research

360° on Cloud Computing in SMBs
US Businesses – Hybrid Cloud Adoption Trends
US Enterprise Cloud Adoption Trends
SMB & Midmarket Buyers Journey
SMB & Midmarket Cloud Computing Adoption Trends
The SMB Channel and Cloud: Success Metrics

For more details on Techaisle's Cloud research reports please visit or to see all of Techaisle's Cloud coverage please visit


Business context at the forefront of SMB Cloud adoption driver

The first step in understanding if a particular type of technology will be important to a market is to understand why it might be important: how can the technology meaningfully address the business needs within the target community? This begs in turn a more fundamental question – what are these needs?

Techaisle’s recent SMB Cloud Adoption survey shows that the top ten business issues identified by SMBs align with well-recognized cloud attributes or applications. For example, cloud is seen as a way of delivering improved automation to a very wide range of functions, within IT and across the business as a whole; these solutions improve processes, which in turn will improve production and support of products. Cloud also supports key collaborative technologies (notably, mobility and file exchange), which have a positive impact on productivity, and cloud is viewed as the primary platform for ‘systems of engagement’ that help businesses attract and retain new customers. Cloud encompasses many different types of offerings, which deliver benefits that align with SMB needs.

smb business issues resized

Similar observations are made regarding the challenges faced by small and midmarket businesses.

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Techaisle study shows SMBs accelerating commitment to Cloud

In today’s SMB market, it is critical for vendors to build detailed understanding of the small and midmarket segments, and to align resources and strategies with requirements as SMBs move from initial experimentation with sophisticated solutions towards mass-market adoption.

In its latest study, Techaisle analyzes 1,116 survey responses to provide the insight needed to build and execute on cloud solution strategies for the small and midmarket customer segments. Techaisle’s deep understanding of SMB IT and business requirements enables vendors to understand the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of solution adoption, current and planned approaches to solution use, the benefits that drive user investments, and key issues in aligning with buyers and building and intercepting demand.

Highlights of findings presented in the report include:

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