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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.

Top 10 SMB and Midmarket Predictions for 2021

In all sectors, 2020 was a challenging year – and as a result, 2021 is challenging from a market planning perspective. The disconnect between 2020 and 2019 was so severe that it rendered spend forecasts virtually useless: IT suppliers reacted to shifting market trends in real-time. As we enter 2021, IT product and service suppliers look to create a context for understanding the range of outcomes that the new year may bring. Techaisle's 2021 report series illuminates issues and requirements in the vast SMB market to support that effort. To start 2021, here are our top 10 predictions.

1. Digital inequality will be more important than the digital divide
2. Quest for reinvention, innovation, resiliency will drive bursts of incremental transformation goals
3. The hybrid workplace will require HR focus and drive adoption of workspace, workflow solutions
4. Meaningful customer partners and not trusted advisors will determine supplier success
5. Pragmatism will overtake progressiveness in technology adoption for a future-ready organization
6. Requirements for automation and enhanced IT services will become time-critical
7. Security and risk mitigation will focus on a safe middle ground
8. Systems of insight will move into the analytics mainstream
9. AI will arrive as a capability integrated within other solutions
10. Open source adoption will become an indicator of cloud success

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Cisco makes enterprise-grade small business solutions affordable and easily deployable

Post-pandemic, as small businesses look ahead to focus on getting back to growth, Cisco has identified the small business segment as a key priority and one of its most significant opportunities. Cisco is committing more resources than ever before to energize and activate Cisco partners' prospects in this space. Cisco identifies its addressable opportunity to be US$30 billion. It is no doubt less than Techaisle's global IT spend forecast of US$230 billion in 2021. But then, Cisco's product portfolio is not all-encompassing, and its definition of small business is on wallet share, any company that spends US$200K or less on Cisco products and services. However, Cisco's is sharpening its focus on the sub-$50K wallet-size small business segment, where Cisco's market share is minimal.

Let us analyze how Cisco is planning to address the small market.

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Poly empowering platform-independent collaboration for hybrid workplaces of all types and business sizes

Communication, collaboration, and human connections are a central component to virtually all business activities. In today’s business environment, we interact at all points in the business cycle: in cross-functional planning and management, within a single co-created document or spreadsheet, in the stages and connection points defined by our business processes. From a supplier’s perspective, these are both encouraging and daunting times. SMB and midmarket customers are eager to acquire collaboration capabilities. Still, at the same time, they are far more demanding in terms of the scope of those capabilities, and their expectation, that any tool can seamlessly connect to any other.

Collaboration and video-conferencing are increasingly crucial to SMB business success. They are among the top five technology priorities to satisfy their desire to make employees more productive in a hybrid work environment. Techaisle’s latest global survey of N=2450 SMBs shows that 73% are increasing investments in collaboration solutions. As SMBs tighten budgets, conferencing solutions take center stage. While these solutions have been around for a long time, Techaisle believes that broad adoption among SMBs is upon us, as evidenced by the priority assigned to such technologies versus the pre-pandemic penetration level. There are many solutions that SMBs can take advantage of, and no technology other than video conferencing has consistently shown the promise of high adoption rates in recent times.

Poly, with its audio and video intelligent software, is well-positioned to drive platform-independent, cloud-managed, unified communication and collaboration adoption within the SMB segment.

Why Poly for SMBs and Midmarket firms

Poly is a company that empowers human connections for remote work and the impending return to the office. Formed in 2019 with Polycom’s acquisition by Plantronics, Poly is on a mission to deliver a comprehensive set of endpoints for the unified communications and collaboration market through differentiating software. Two strong players, both leaders in their respective audio and video technology areas – came together to pave the way in the era of digital transformation, taking human communication, be it collaboration at home or office, to the next level. It is, indeed, succeeding.

Polycom devices, such as Trio or Soundstation family, have been the default choice for audio conferencing. Most SMBs that Techaisle has surveyed refer to Poly as Polycom. Trio with Poly logo is not on office/home desks yet, but it will be. After all, it has only been a year and a half since the new logo and company name announcement. Within the last 12-18 months, the design language has evolved at Poly, resulting in a refresh of its entire product and services portfolio.

While it is true that the average SMB user may not know the Poly brand, it has over 400K customers worldwide. It is relatively widely known as the conferencing leader in the midmarket and enterprise IT community. Many small businesses use consumer devices, conferencing hardware from PC/Smartphone OEMs, tools from meeting service providers, mainly due to aggressive marketing and pricing models. We feel there is nothing to prevent newly formed Poly from becoming a stronger player in this market.

Poly’s portfolio is so comprehensive that it addresses the needs of the enterprise, SMB, and home-office workers covering different workstyles – conference rooms, desk phones, large rooms, huddle rooms, video conferencing devices, and on-the-go headsets. 95% of Poly’s employees work remotely / from home and use Poly products.

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New Windows 10 PCs are a strategic investment for SMBs in the modern world of work

To understand the differences in cost, productivity, security vulnerabilities, and business benefits between newer, <4year, Windows 10 PCs and older, 4+ years, Windows 10 PCs, Techaisle recently conducted a global study, surveying business and technology decision-makers in 2085 SMBs. Microsoft sponsored the study.

The study exposed the actual dollar cost of lost productivity that unbeknownst to most SMBs are chipping away at profitability. It also revealed the number of productive work hours lost per year and an increase in security exposures. The survey research also identified vital business benefits SMBs experienced after replacing older Windows 10 PCs with newer Windows 10 PCs.

Download the full white paper here

Key findings of the study are:

Older Windows 10 PCs reduce productivity, increase operational costs, diminish security

  • 40% of SMBs have either no PC refresh policy or are not following the system, and 32% of Windows 10 PCs in use are 4+ years old
  • Older 4+ year Windows 10 PCs reduce IT efficiency and productivity, resulting in 70 hours of productive time lost per year per PC
  • The total cost of owning and maintaining a 4+ year-old Windows 10 PC is US$1,525, which is 3.3X of newer Windows 10 PCs
  • Older Windows 10 PCs experience 3X more malware attacks and 3.5x more phishing attacks than more modern Windows 10 PCs
  • 67% of SMBs experienced a security breach within the last year, resulting in an average of 3.3% of revenue lost

New Windows 10 PCs reduce costs, improve productivity, increase security, provide better cloud experience

  • 69% of SMBs surveyed agreed that new Windows 10 PCs reduced overall costs
  • SMBs mentioned that the use of newer Windows 10 PCs leads to significant improvements in application performance: 2.6X less frequent application crashes, 2.5X fewer incidents of notebook battery depleting too soon, 2.2X fewer occurrences of slowing applications as compared to older Windows 10 PCs
  • 43% of SMBs say that "better security features" is one reason for purchasing new Windows 10 PCs and is among the top decision factors, and 77% consider it the second ultimate feature when purchasing new PCs

Replacing older Windows 10 PCs is a strategic investment in productivity and security for SMBs in the new world of work

As per Techaisle's global SMB survey, sponsored by Microsoft, a new Windows 10 PC has a significant impact on employees' productivity, delivering improved performance, better security, remote working, and manageability features. SMBs with an aging PC portfolio face several problems. Older PCs tend to be slower, harder to equip with current software, are more prone to crashes and failures, lack the latest connectivity capabilities, and miss much-needed built-in hardware security features, all of which harm business.

Older PCs, especially those past their extended support windows, increase security threat profile, endangering users, data, applications, and devices. Productivity suffers, IT support increases, IT efficiency deteriorates, business agility weakens, profitability decreases, workstyle and workflow suffer, post-pandemic recovery sputters.

Download the full white paper here

 

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