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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.

Techaisle survey - US SMB IoT adoption growing from early to mature stage

In today’s competitive marketplace, it is critical that vendors develop detailed understanding of the small and midmarket segments, and align resources and strategies with requirements as SMBs move from initial experimentation with sophisticated solutions towards mass-market adoption.

In the US SMB & Midmarket IoT Adoption trends report, Techaisle Research analyzes 1,135 survey responses to provide the insight providers need to build and execute on IoT strategies for the small and midmarket customer segments. Techaisle’s deep understanding of SMB IT and business requirements enables vendors to understand the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of solution adoption, current and planned approaches to technology use, the expectations that drive user investments, and key issues in supporting buyers to better create and intercept demand.

us smb iot adoption trends cover to use

Highlights of findings presented in this report include:

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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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Identifying key benefits associated with SMB Big Data initiatives

Intrinsic to positioning any IT-enabled solution is an understanding of the benefits that the customer anticipates obtaining from deployment of the technology. Buyers need to understand how the solution helps them to increase revenues, cut costs, improve efficiency or otherwise enhance shareholder value; vendors need to be able to position their offerings as a means to achieving these objectives.

While there is a close relationship between “analytics” and “Big Data” – and they are often conflated in the press – the two technologies follow somewhat different paths into SMB user environments. Techaisle research has found that analytics solutions tend to be driven by BDMs – business users looking for better ways of approaching high-priority business issues. In some cases, this requires access to vast quantities of high-velocity, variegated sources, which in turn demands a Big Data solution – but in contrast to analytics adoption, Big Data initiatives rely heavily on IT for implementation and ongoing management, and represents a solution area that requires collaboration between BDMs and ITDMs.

While SMB Big Data buyers view support for (predictive) analytics as their top acquisition driver, they also have distinct needs and preferences that suppliers must consider in building a sales and marketing strategy.

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85 percent of omni-channel SMBs are using analytics solutions

One interesting observation contained within Techaisle’s 2016 SMB & Midmarket Analytics Adoption survey results is the relationship between sales channel and analytics strategy. The survey of 1,116 US SMBs found that a higher percentage of businesses with an omni-channel approach that includes both online and offline sales channels are using analytics than those relying entirely on either online or offline sales. In fact, overall, 85% of omni-channel SMBs are using analytics and 38% are using big data solutions. On the planned side of the equation, another 46% of omni-channel SMBs are investigating use of big data technologies. Even the average spending on analytics by omni-channel SMBs is 3X that of eCommerce only SMBs and 6X of those that do not sell online.

Data illustrates that nearly 60% of SMBs (and almost three-quarters of midmarket firms) employing an omni-channel strategy are already using analytics to track website hits – a rate that is higher than for firms using ecommerce-only, and much higher than for firms that do not use online sales.

Another set of data adds context to this focus on website tracking. Omni-channel businesses tend not to be using particularly advanced approaches to analytics:

• 39% use “descriptive” analytics, and
• 30% have deployed “predictive” or “prescriptive” analytics.

However, omni-channel firms do tend to have some type of strategy – only 5% report that their use of analytics is ad hoc, vs. 13% of ecommerce-only firms and 18% of firms with no online sales.

The current analytics solution deployment & usage differs greatly from future plans within the omni-channel SMBs.  

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