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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 5 technologies where small businesses are increasing investment

Techaisle worldwide survey of 2427 SMBs shows that collaboration, cloud, security, mobility and PCs are the top five areas where small businesses are increasing technology investments. Each of these address current business challenges and lay the foundation for the five pillars of small business digital transformation: 1/ achieve cost efficiencies, 2/ initiative innovation, 3/ enable operational efficiency, 4/ drive business growth, and 5/ empower organizational productivity.

techaisle top 5 technology areas small business

Collaboration: 66% of small businesses are increasing investments in collaboration solution as compared to 19% who are either decreasing or delaying investments. Collaboration is a critical solution priority. The enormous reliance on mobility, the trend towards flexible work within small businesses and the general trend of including customers within the framework of collaboration solutions have all contributed to much broader demand for collaboration solutions. Use of collaboration solutions within small businesses started as file-first but has quickly transitioned to person-first. The central requirement for a collaboration solution is the ability to share files from desktop or mobile devices, the second is to enable online interaction, and the third is to provide richer media and media escalation for person-to-person communications.

Cloud: 64% of small businesses are increasing investments in cloud. Cloud is no longer a trend that is discrete from mainstream IT. This shift in cloud’s positioning has brought with it a shift in the kinds of insights needed to help connect suppliers and buyers to address common interests in deployment, integration and expansion strategies. Small business buyers are needing help in moving past initial cloud pilots and applications to integrated cloud systems that provide support for mission-critical processes. Vendor suppliers need to adjust their messaging to address the needs of early mass market rather than early adopter customers.

Security: 61% of small businesses are increasing investments in security solutions. Although data shows that small businesses are more optimistic than they ought to be about their current security profiles, security is an important constraint on mobility within the small business segment. Vendor suppliers need to help small businesses to establish frameworks that protect against both external and employee threats to information security.

Mobility: 59% of small businesses are increasing investments in mobility solutions. If the “office” is defined by devices, so too is “workplace” defined by the ability to work from wherever those devices (and their users) are located. Small businesses are investing in mobility because it contributes to both cost savings and increased market reach, with “improved productivity” and related answers connected to establishing “better ways of working” viewed as the greatest benefit of mobility within SMBs. Techaisle’s data shows that there are inherent challenges in supporting the mobile workforce: struggle with the “on ramps” to mobility (such as finding appropriate suppliers and solutions) and concerned with security/data protection and mobile management.

PCs: 56% of small businesses are increasing investments in PCs. PC is where work gets done. PC is still the centerpiece of business productivity and buying a new PC is likely to have a more significant impact on productivity than any other technology. Modern PCs deliver more than an incremental improvement in performance, manageability and security features and even price conscious small businesses benefit significantly from replacing older PCs with modern PCs.

There is a strong connection between cloud, mobility, collaboration. Mobility, cloud and collaboration are all important trends in today’s IT market, and Techaisle data indicates that they are tightly interconnected. Mobility is a key driver of collaboration demand, with worldwide total of 292 million small business mobile workers looking for framework technologies enabling them to connect with suppliers, customers and each other. At the same time, collaboration is seen as a key attribute of successful cloud solutions, with more than one-third of small businesses citing “the ability to provide or support collaboration” as a key success factor in cloud solutions.

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2017 Top 10 SMB and Midmarket Business Issues, IT Challenges, IT Priorities

They are here. Techaisle's annual SMB and Midmarket Top 10 IT Priorities, IT Challenges and Business Issues. This is the 5th year of Techaisle tracking at a WW level and is much sought after by IT vendors, channels and media. For 2017, Techaisle investigated 15 different technology areas, each with several sub-technology categories, 20 different IT challenges and 20 different business issues.

Click on the infographic images below to view and download your copy

When compared with 2016 the list for 2017 SMB and Midmarket Top 10 IT Priorities, IT Challenges and Business Issues reveals major changes – digitalization has become an IT priority and supporting digital marketing/workplace an IT challenge, improving workforce productivity as a business issue has catapulted to the top, enabling mobile workforce is among the top 3 IT challenges and Collaboration, Cloud, Mobility and Security are the IT priorities. Cloud orchestration has also appeared for the first time in the list of IT challenges as IT is finding it necessary to orchestrate across the entire enterprise to deliver business infrastructure via the cloud.

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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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Business context driving analytics and Big Data solutions in the SMB market

It would be unusual to find a “Chief Strategy Officer” or an equivalent group dedicated solely to long-term planning within a small business, or even inside most midmarket enterprises. For the most part, a small team of executives shares responsibility for both charting the company’s direction and managing its daily operational activities. This can make it difficult for SMBs to separate the strategic from the tactical – but it has the advantage of ensuring that ‘big picture’ priorities are reflected in the day-to-day actions taken by the management team.

This direct, visceral link between business imperatives and daily activities has some interesting implications for IT suppliers. Because the business decision maker (BDM) is often responsible for IT-related decisions, the IT supplier needs to ensure that its messaging is relevant to BDM ‘care-abouts’ – and because the BDM is often the source of both strategic and tactical direction, it is important for the IT supplier to root marketing messages and activity in an understanding of how their offerings, and/or the solutions in which their offerings are positioned, address the high-level objectives of the SMB customer.

Why Analytics?

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