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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.

SMB Purchase intentions for PCs, Tablets, Chromebooks

As is the case in each year’s research, the 2015 Techaisle SMB Mobility Adoption Trends survey asked respondents to detail their plans for acquisition of different types of client devices. Two of the major categories investigated by the survey were desktop PCs and notebook PCs. Here, as was the case last year, Techaisle finds stronger purchase intentions for desktops than for notebooks: 30% of US small businesses and 75% of US midmarket companies are planning to buy desktops in 2015, as compared with 18% of small businesses and 63% of midmarket firms reporting notebook purchase intentions. Projected volumes of purchases are also generally higher for desktops than for notebooks.

However, corporate purchase intentions do not provide a complete perspective on mobile device acquisitions. While one can assume that all desktops connected within a business are company-owned, both data and experience suggests that some of the notebooks used within a corporate environment are employee-owned. By including potential employee purchases of notebooks as a factor in the expansion or refresh of corporate notebook fleets, the SMB PC acquisition outlook for 2015 gets altered.

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Mobility is addressing a clear need within US SMBs and 86 percent are increasing investments

Techaisle’s recently completely study 2015 US SMB Mobility Solutions Adoption Trends shows that mobility adoption within US SMB is reaching 86 percent by end of 2015. However, mobility adoption is not about mobile devices anymore, rather it has transitioned to mobility applications and over to mobility solutions (solutions that provide management, security and infrastructure needed to connect mobile devices and applications into the corporate IT environment).

Unfortunately for SMBs, each of the above three essential areas of investment has different suppliers. Data from the survey shows that SMB buyers are therefore confused about where to turn for help, especially with respect to mobility solutions needed to integrate and manage their burgeoning mobility portfolios that includes both company and employee mobility activity.

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Techaisle survey data shows BYOD is a major force in the US SMB Market

techaisle-smb-byod-trend-end-point-device-adoption

To set the context for a BYOD discussion Techaisle’s survey on end-point technology status of SMBs provide an intriguing set of statistics through which we can assess recent endpoint trends. BYOD is clearly a major force in the US SMB market. BYOD purchases accounted for 13% of all new laptops, 17% of all new tablets, and 22% of all new smartphones purchased by US SMBs in 2013. This creates challenges for both IT management, which needs to establish methods of managing these devices, and for suppliers, who need to work with SMBIT to secure their position in the main endpoint categories, and also appeal to business managers and individual buyers to ensure that they are not left out of a major portion of the market. Techaisle’s SMB End-point survey data shows that approaches to BYOD –brand selection, reimbursement, application download and support – vary with employee size, with small SMBs leaving most of the decision, cost and support to individual users, and larger SMBs tending to involve business and/or IT management in these activities.

The survey data also shows that overall frequency of device purchases, which speaks to the erosion of the notebook market as emphasis shifts to alternative screens; in 2013, a higher percentage of US SMB employees were using tablets and smartphones than notebooks purchased within the year.

Suppliers need to recognize the distinctions that are apparent across employee size categories, and structure their offerings accordingly. IT vendors courting the very small business (1-19 employee) segment should recognize that employees are most likely paying for and supporting these devise themselves; as a result, IT vendors will need to offer financing and vendor/carrier-supplied, business-grade support options. In larger SMBs, specifically, mid-market businesses, funding and support is more likely to come from business and IT management; in these segments, OEMs are advised to establish programs that make it easy to onboard, secure and support new devices and users. In both cases, there are gaps in policies; suppliers who help businesses to establish and implement effective BYOD practices may be able to position their products favorably as a result.

SMB employees driving much of the activity is also creating sales and marketing challenge for suppliers: opportunities to sell brands and configurations that are outside corporate specifications, and challenges in aligning channel strategies to a market that includes both IT and individual employees (business management) as important buying groups.

Within the SMB context, BYOD itself comes in several ‘flavors.’ Techaisle survey data shows that on hand an SMB employee both selects and pays for a new device, delighting the CFO, but causing problems for IT. On the other, the SMB employee pays for the device, but selects it based on guidelines or an approved list – an approach (referred to in some cases as CYOD) that appeals to both the CFO and IT, but might not be completely satisfactory for the employee. BYOD can take any one of these paths and add some level of reimbursement for the purchase from the company and/or technical support for the devices, which has both upside (because the employee selects technology that he/she is comfortable with) and downside (the cost burden rests, at least to some extent, with the company rather than the employee) for the SMB business owner. And regardless of the approach chosen, some SMBs are instituting formal contracts that provide them with authorization to secure and (if necessary) ‘wipe’ employee-owned devices.

Who selects the BYOD brand?


The most critical BYOD question for IT manufacturers revolves around brand selection: is it done by the employee or the employer? Survey data shows that the answer depends largely on the size of the SMB business.

Who pays the BYOD bill?


One of the contentious issues in BYOD is the matter of responsibility for funding the device purchase. Many employees view BYOD as an attempt by their SMB employers to shift costs from the business to its staff. Many SMBs, on the other hand, see BYOD as a means of ensuring that employees have access to the technology that they like best. Some employers view paying for the devices as a means of building goodwill with staff (and/or as a means of building a basis for exerting management control over the devices), while others believe that simply allowing the devices to be connected to corporate assets represents contribution enough.

Who is responsible for BYOD support?


In our survey, we asked respondents to identify the ways in which their organizations support BYOD devices. The findings provide a fascinating insight into the ways in which BYOD devices are integrated into the corporate endpoint portfolio from no support at all to commitment to full integration of BYOD devices.

What is the policy with respect to app downloads on BYOD devices?


One of the key employee benefits associated with BYOD devices is that employees have a platform on which to run personal applications. What, though, is the implication for business applications? Are employees free to select any app that they choose, or should the business play a role in directing or determining the selection of business apps? Results from the survey suggest that the degree of formalization associated with app selection and installation varies from no formal policy to a very structured approach.

Is there a contract in place to govern BYOD use?


The final BYOD issue investigated by our survey related to the creation of contracts between employers and employees. Techaisle considers these contracts to be important to the success of BYOD strategies, as they provide explicit employee agreement to IT activities necessary to safeguarding corporate apps and data and we expect that this will become standard HR practice in BYOD-friendly SMBs over time.

About the Report

Coverage:

  • Current and Planned purchase Intentions of client devices

  • Tablet OS & Application software adoption – Behind the Screen

  • BYOD: Employers vs. Employees, or Micros vs. Larger SMBs?

  • Across the OS generations: XP, Windows 8 refresh intentions

  • The Android Opportunity: Google in the PC Market

  • Converged Mobility PCs: 2-in-1 PCs

  • PC Purchase Channel and Sources of Information


More details about the report can be found here.

Related Research Articles

Seven Key Trends and their Meaning: SMB Endpoint Device Market in 2014

SMB Purchase Intentions for Android PCs

Key Attributes of Successful SMB Mobility Solutions
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Citrix cloud drives a new solutions category: Mobile Delivery Infrastructure (MDI)

Steve Daheb, Chief Marketing Officer, Citrix, says, “Citrix is a cloud solutions company that enables mobile workstyles”. This philosophy’s execution is anchored to its three product pillars:

  1. XenDesktop
  2. Netscaler, and
  3. XenMobile

Citrix has committed itself to an ambitious definition of enterprise mobility, with a framework spanning nine components; customers can use Citrix technologies to create an integrated, single vendor solution covering all nine areas, or can opt to plug competing products into any of the nine areas – an approach that Citrix has labeled “any-ness.”


Mobile Delivery Infrastructure (MDI)

We believe that there is current demand in the market for a reasoned approach to defining enterprise mobility. The suppliers of the endpoint products aren’t in a position to define the architecture and services needed to connect their products to corporate networks, applications and data, and the suppliers of data center infrastructure lack visibility into the endpoint side of the equation. Citrix is unique in spanning both environments, and its approach to enabling customers is, in our opinion, well-aligned with the need for architectural clarity that we have observed in the market. Accordingly, using the Citrix framework as a starting point, we have created a definition of enterprise mobility that we have dubbed “Mobile Delivery Infrastructure,” or MDI. MDI is comprised of three distinct, critical solution pillars: endpoint tracking and security, collaboration and sharing, and app delivery and management.


Mobility Delivery Infrastructure (MDI)


Endpoint Tracking & Security


Collaboration & Sharing


App Delivery & Management


  • MDM
  • Mobile network control
  • Single Sign-on & Identity Management

  • Sandboxed mail
  • Secure mobile data sharing Collaboration

  • App dev tools
  • Mobile app security Windows-as-a-Service


Unsurprisingly, given our starting point, Citrix can be seen as a standard-setter for MDI. Its approach to MDI will likely attract many firms in search of a consistent approach: Citrix’s fundamental belief that work is not a place, simpler is better and any-ness wins will resonate with many customers looking for a starting point for a mobility framework.

The breadth of the Citrix portfolio will also help prospective customers to understand the requirement for the full breadth of MDI technologies. While many other cloud companies are developing either one solution or several for mobile workforce enablement, Citrix’s strategy seems akin to Microsoft’s during its formative years: it owned the platform (the operating system) for the PC, attracting an ecosystem of hardware, software and networking companies which built products and solutions extending the utility of the core product. To that extent, Citrix seems to have created a corporate mobility delivery infrastructure that can either be utilized stand alone or combined with other solutions.

SMB Market Potential

Citrix‘s main target has been the enterprise segment, which has served it well. It has yet to develop a coherent strategy for marketing and selling to the SMB segment, relying on partners to address the market. However, Techaisle research demonstrates that the SMB focused channel partners themselves want tremendous help from their vendors. For example US channel partner data clearly shows the help required on multiple fronts.

Nevertheless, the SMB market has huge potential with nearly 300 million mobile workers by 2016.The SMBs investing in mobile enablement will need MDI solutions to supporting these 300 million mobile workers – which will create demand for one or more solutions within Citrix’s MDI platform.


Techaisle outlook: We believe that mobility is transitioning from being defined by devices to being defined by management strategies – and that this will create demand for MDI. With products covering each aspect of MDI – and with an approach that supports both single-vendor and best-of-breed deployments – Citrix is extremely well positioned to benefit from this transition.


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