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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.

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.

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Unified Workspace is important for SMB remote workforce productivity

Techaisle global survey found that for 42% of SMBs’ improving employee productivity is a priority and 43% are using digitalization initiatives for employee empowerment and over one-third are digitally transforming to support employees. There are many factors involved in driving productivity, including management approaches, processes and practices, and collaboration/synergy across activities and functions. But technology is a key contributor to productivity – directly, and through its ability to positively affect processes and internal coordination. Techaisle research shows that these benefits don’t accrue to all SMBs equally: SMBs that are advanced in their approach to IT (“Enterprise IT”) are about twice as likely to achieve the productivity-enabled benefits than lowest-performing firms, and 30% more likely to realize productivity benefits than the average SMB.

The statistics quoted above show that technology is seen as a source of productivity-enhancing capabilities – meaning, in some way, that technology has “permission” from the business to help drive higher levels of remote workforce performance. However, improved performance requires a strategy, and in technology matters, this strategy is being driven by SMB IT staff. It is therefore important that the SMB IT function be responsive to business requirements, deploying requested technology and delivering user training. There is another role, though, that SMB IT staff management can and should play: focusing on technologies that are proven to contribute to workforce enablement, deploying these technologies within the organization and working with business staff to ensure that the benefits inherent in the technologies are recognized and captured. This advances the IT function from simply responding to requests to providing leadership in enabling the SMB workforce.

Techaisle’s research has identified a number of solutions that are seen as driving productivity within SMBs and midmarket firms – approaches that IT managers can and should explore as they seek ways to connect the potential of IT to demonstrable increases in productivity. Three of these solutions - unified workspace, collaboration, and mobility, are especially important in a technology-dependent economy, and each contributes meaningfully to enabling the workforce.

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Remote work is escalating need for connected digital workplace platform within SMB and Midmarket

Distributed, remote, mobile – these are the realities of today’s workforce. The workspace isn’t defined by windows and walls and common area couches. For millions of SMB employees, the workspace isn’t a physical location – it’s a virtual space defined by access from multiple screens which are used from multiple locations. Consider these data points from Techaisle’s SMB survey research. Pre-pandemic, 24% of SMB global workforce was mobile. Today, the number has jumped to 51% within small businesses and 47% in midmarket firms. These numbers are down from a high of 78% during country lockdowns. The category, “mobile workers”, is increasingly indistinguishable from “workers.” This means new ways of working, taking advantage of new technologies and capabilities to build an agile, mobile, secure work-style enabled by cloud, remote work, security and collaboration. When working remotely, 47% of SMB mobile workforce are using notebook to access corporate data, 9% tablets and 44% smartphones. If the office of an SMB is defined by devices, workplace is defined by the ability to work from wherever those devices and their users are located. As a result, 64% of SMBs are increasing investments in remote work solutions, and survey data shows there will likely be a whopping 380% increase in digital workplace adoption in the next one year within small businesses and 48% increase within midmarket firms.

The key focus is about the ‘future of work’: workflow, workspaces, workforce and the ways that an increasingly-connected world can support pursuit of previously-unattainable objectives for the SMBs and midmarket firms. Their most important technology-related effort is on connectedness – connected cloud, edge, applications, security, collaboration, workspaces and insights. Cloud and mobility are navigation routes but the always-on, everywhere-connected unified platform is the destination. These SMBs are looking for benefits arising from the interconnection of all types of resources: platforms/environments, information, devices and applications. Depth discussions and quantitative survey research with SMBs and midmarket firms points to a trend that is playing out across seven key areas as shown in the chart below:

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