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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.

Launching an SMB Focused Cloud Computing Study

Launching and SMB focused cloud computing survey. Why are they buying or not buying. Do they even know what Cloud Computing means?
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Empower Me! - The Coming Change in SMB IT Priorities

Download Techaisle SMB PerspectivesOver the last two decades, the global small and mid-market businesses, SMB (1-999 employee size) market has been the growth engine for the IT industry at large. The reason is quite simply that SMBs account for over 80 percent of businesses in any country – developed or developing. For much of those two decades, SMBs have primarily focused on building core infrastructure with the bulk of their investment allotted towards buying PCs and desktop applications such as Office, desktop publishing and other industry specific software.  This initial phase was followed by a longer continuing phase wherein SMBs shifted their investments to Networking technologies. However, this was still part of core infrastructure investments made by SMBs.

The reason for this lengthy investment cycle was that investments occurred at different times for different SMBs depending upon firm size and geographies. SMBs form the essential thread of the economic fabric of any country and to a great extent their fortunes and investment capabilities are dependent on the economic situations and policies of the countries they represent. So as the fortunes of the emerging world turned favorable, so did the investment capacity of these SMBs. Conversely, as economies have stalled in recent times, investment capacity of SMBs has been deeply affected. 

Tough economic times bring investment decisions into sharp focus. The result is typically lower investment levels. It also sharpens medium and longer term priorities. That leads to smart investments. But also investments made at this time become longer term drivers of investment for adjacent areas. We at Techaisle believe that the recent economic implosion acts as a catalyst for such action and change among SMBs.

The New SMB Imperative: SMBs are sharpening their medium and longer term priorities leading to smart investments.
Value Shift: SMBs are now looking beyond infrastructure investments as their respective countries slowly emerge from the global downturn.
Enablement v/s Empowerment: SMBs are being driven towards empowerment technologies that are outside of normal technology adoption curve.
Empowerment Technologies: SMBs in emerging market countries show greater intentions of investing in these new priorities than SMBs in mature markets.
Implications for Channel Partners: Shift to newer priorities is and will impact channels the most in next five years.
Conclusion: New priorities bring to light new opportunities for vendors and channel partners to positively impact the success of SMBs on a global basis.

Download Techaisle SMB POV DocumentDownload Detailed Techaisle SMB Point-of-View Document
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Tracking the Value Shift in Computing

Value Shift – It’s a broad term describing a directional shift within an industry. Every industry goes through such shifts periodically. Most of the time such shifts create new challenges and new opportunities. The impact is almost always big – industries re-structure, leaders fall and new leaders are born. Value Shifts rarely occur as a result of a single phenomenon. They are more akin to little ripples that build to a tsunami.

The computing industry has seen its share of value shifts over the last 3 decades – perhaps more rapidly than any other industry. That’s what makes it so exciting! I believe that we are poised for another such shift. It’s not about the Internet, Web 2.0, SaaS or Cloud Computing – these are merely ripples at the end of the day. The emerging Value Shift is about Device Independence.

The computing industry to date has largely been dependent upon PCs. In other words, the industry’s fortunes were tied to the adoption of that one single class of device. Everything else flows from that. Microsoft made the most of it earning billions as did others – including Google. But that dependence appears to be breaking down. I am constantly intrigued by two things these days – the phenomenal success of the iPhone and the current rage in PCs – Netbooks. After all, having spent the last 20 years tracking an industry where speeds, feeds and computing power have ruled, how does one explain people (in droves) buying a lower power platform with shrunken keyboards and screens? iPhones let you view the same websites and web applications that you access from Netbooks, notebooks and desktops. The experience from a usability standpoint is different for any individual device, but you can access the same information. And it’s not limited to websites and web apps. You can use any number of free products to access your PC using an iphone (read about it here ). In other words device independence.

The “Information Fabric”

Padmasree Warrior, the CTO of Cisco puts forth a compelling prediction – the emergence of an “information fabric”. I believe it. The fabric can be defined in many ways and a many levels – from the lowest level network protocols to the highest level where information is consumed by individuals and corporations. Most importantly, the information fabric, I believe, will not limit itself to allow consumption and utilization of information by a single device or even a class of devices. Instead it will enable consumption by a whole range of devices leveraging the unique user experiences of each device.

The Ripples that Matter

It’s not difficult to see the key technologies that are driving this Shift. Of note are continued advances in virtualization and remoting where performance and user experience is improving rapidly. But also worth noting are storage technologies that are becoming common to different kinds of devices – specifically flash storage, whereas in the past application performance was somewhat dependent on type of storage used. The commonly understood technologies impacting bandwidth, throughput improvement, network capacity, data center optimization also continually push us towards device independence.

value-shift

It’s All About Productivity

Ultimately the move towards device independence is about productivity resulting from the freedom to use the device that best suits the work environment at any given point is time (a smartphone, a PC, a Netbook or even a Kindle). A lot of pieces need to fall into place and getting to true device independence will take a long time but there is no doubt that the ripples that started this value shift are transforming into a Tsunami.

Abhijeet Rane
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