• FEATURED INFOGRAPHIC

    FEATURED INFOGRAPHIC

    2021 Top 10 SMB Business Issues, IT Priorities, IT Challenges
    GET IT NOW
  • NEXT CHANNEL - THE FUTURE OF PARTNER ECOSYSTEM

    NEXT CHANNEL - THE FUTURE OF PARTNER ECOSYSTEM

    Networked, Engaged, Extended, Hybrid
    DOWNLOAD NOW
  • 2021 SMB & MIDMARKET PREDICTIONS

    2021 SMB & MIDMARKET PREDICTIONS

    Top 10 SMB & Midmarket Predictions for 2021
    READ NOW
  • SIMPLIFY. EXPAND. GROW.

    SIMPLIFY. EXPAND. GROW.

    #SMB #MIDMARKET #UPPER MID-MARKET #CHANNEL
    LEARN MORE
  • DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    Delivering Connected Business
    LEARN MORE
  • WHITE PAPER

    WHITE PAPER

    SMB Path to Digitalization - Prologue and Epilogue
    DOWNLOAD
  • SECURITY RESEARCH

    SECURITY RESEARCH

    SMB & Midmarket Security Adoption Trends
    LATEST RESEARCH
  • MANAGED SERVICES RESEARCH

    MANAGED SERVICES RESEARCH

    US SMB & Midmarket Managed Services Adoption
    LEARN MORE
  • CLOUD RESEARCH

    CLOUD RESEARCH

    SMB & Midmarket Cloud Adoption
    LATEST RESEARCH
  • CHANNEL PARTNERS

    CHANNEL PARTNERS

    Transformation or Consolidation
    LATEST RESEARCH
  • COVID-19 IMPACT

    COVID-19 IMPACT

    on SMB IT Spend Growth Rates
    FULL ANALYSIS
  • COVID-19 IMPACT

    COVID-19 IMPACT

    on CHANNEL PARTNERS
    FULL ANALYSIS
  • WHITE PAPER

    WHITE PAPER

    Windows 10 PCs - Strategic SMB Investment for Modern World of Work
    LEARN MORE
  • NEW SMB CUSTOMER RESEARCH

    NEW SMB CUSTOMER RESEARCH

    PC and software purchasing trends
    LEARN MORE
  • 2020 CHANNEL PARTNER PREDICTIONS

    2020 CHANNEL PARTNER PREDICTIONS

    Channel Partner Predictions for 2020
    READ NOW
  • ANALYTICS & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

    ANALYTICS & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

    SMB & Midmarket Analytics & Artificial Intelligence Adoption
    LEARN MORE
  • BUYERS JOURNEY

    BUYERS JOURNEY

    Influence map & care-abouts
    LEARN MORE
  • SAAS RESEARCH

    SAAS RESEARCH

    US SMB & Midmarket SaaS Adoption
    LEARN MORE
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18

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.

Are Tablets Really Replacing PCs within SMBs?

In 2012, a total of 47.2 million households and 1.9 million SMBs purchased a PC for the first time (Techaisle estimates), increasing global PC penetration by 2% in both the consumer and small business segments as an average of 5,200 small businesses and 130,000 households per day purchased a PC for the first time.

According to IDC, a total of 350 million PCs (desktops + notebooks) were shipped worldwide in 2012. Assuming that each first-time buyer in both the consumer and small business segments bought one PC, a total of 49.2 million PCs were first-time purchases. Therefore, the remaining 300 million PCs purchased in 2012 were either for increasing density or for replacements.

There are three elements that contribute to PC shipments. These are:

    1. Increasing Penetration: businesses or households that purchase and use PCs for the first time

 

    1. Increasing Density: purchase and use of PCs for either additional members of a household or employees within a business

 

    1. Replacements: replacing older PCs with new PCs



Increasing Penetration

PC market penetration will continue to be driven by emerging market countries. There are 1.26 billion addressable households in emerging markets but only one in four have a PC. Similarly, there are 44.7 million SMBs in emerging markets, but only two in five have a PC. Both of these figures indicate a huge opportunity for new PC sales as there are still 26.4 million SMBs and 994 million households that
have yet to buy a PC – a huge gap indeed!.

techaisle-established-markets techaisle-emerging-markets


It is true that many of these households and small businesses may choose to purchase a tablet first rather than a PC if the planned usage is focused on consuming content through activities such as emailing, browsing, playing games, following news and watching videos. However, it is also true that PCs will
remain an important part of the device market. A tablet’s weight, portability and convenience cannot be ignored, but Techaisle believes that the tablet market may reach the same set of conundrums – lengthening replacement cycles and fully saturated addressable density – that are affecting the PC market today, causing tablet sales to skid. Since 1982 when the first PC was introduced, a combined one billion households and small businesses have yet to purchase a PC. It is hard to say that tablets will fill that void, especially when the market gets flooded with too many configuration choices and a profusion of different brands with unique value propositions; for a majority of buyers, the tablet purchase decision process will become as difficult as for PCs.

Increasing Density

Increasing density is certainly a problem area within mature markets as the household PC density is more than 1 in most countries. However, in emerging markets the household PC density varies from 0.5 to 0.9 devices per person depending upon the country. Similarly, in the case of small businesses the density is also almost 1.0 in mature market countries and varies from 0.4 to 0.7 in emerging market countries. There is therefore potential for PC vendors to increase density in emerging market countries both within households and small businesses. But here again, we may find that tablets become a device of choice thus impeding density increase. However, these conditions will also hold true for tablets in the next 3-4 years when the number of tablets within a household and a small business will reach a density saturation point beyond which no new tablets will be purchased for additional employees or household members.

Replacements

This is where the most brouhaha is currently. PC replacement cycles are getting extended and users – both corporate and consumers – are buying tablets. Notwithstanding the tepid acceptance of Windows 8, the PC buying process has become a daunting task even for the most technological savvy individual. PCs are variously categorized as Ultrabooks, ultra-thins, light and thin, long battery life, anti-glare screen, Premium HD screen, SSD, HDD, All-in-ones – it makes one’s brain dizzy. So the consumer ends up either pushing back the decision or continues to shop for a suitable configuration at an affordable price. “A PC in hand is worth two in a bush” begins to hold true. The consumer may then default to a tablet, which is still a novelty device. But the question remains, at least, within the context of small businesses – are the tablets they are purchasing really replacing PCs? Let us look at Techaisle survey data below based on total sample size of 9,500 SMBs.

smb-replace-pcs-with-tablets smb-replace-pcs-with-tablets-2


Above data (will not add to 100 percent due to multiple responses) clearly suggests that while there are some incidences of replacements, consistently over 60 percent of SMBs either currently use tablets or plan to use tablets as additions to PCs. However, it is interesting to note that the density of tablets in many small businesses is not always 1.0. For example, a small retail store may have 4 employees but uses 6 tablets and 2 PCs. These tablets are used for point-of-sale, display advertising or self-serve terminals. So in effect tablets are doing the work of PCs with more convenience and a smaller foot-print. It is debatable whether retailers would have used PCs for these tasks in the absence of tablets.

This brings us back to the point that we started with. If 300 million PCs were purchased for either replacements or density increase, are tablets then really replacing PCs, or is the PC market itself getting saturated, with fewer compelling reasons to purchase additions or replacements? Are the PC vendors sufficiently targeting the first time buyers, as this group would have the highest potential for increasing penetration and driving increasing density? IDC also said that a total of 128 million Tablets were shipped in 2012. Approximately 32 million Tablets were purchased by SMBs assuming that SMB share was 25 percent. The two charts above when combined with IDC data gives a rough number of 5 million tablets displacing PC sales. The data for SMBs demonstrates that tablets are not replacing PCs, but are being used in addition to PCs.

Techaisle’s bottom line: PC vendors should therefore market PCs to new users and current users with two very distinct messaging to open up the market.

 

  0 Comments

Codeproof: Cloud-based MDM for SMBs

A common SMB usage scenario

An IT administrator of a small business gets a call from an employee saying that he lost his iPad with customer billing info, specs of recent architecture drawing; corporate emails and he did not even have a lock in the iPad. What can the IT Administrator do? This is where Codeproof comes into picture. With Codeproof, the IT Administrator could have remotely located the iPad, locked it and even remotely erased the iPad thereby preventing any data-theft.

A common barrier to Mobility Adoption within SMBs

The need for device and data security for mobile devices is an important deterrent in mobility adoption, especially as consumer and business apps converge onto the same devices. Nevertheless mobility is here to stay but going down the route of mobility is also fraught with unexpected surprises – most important being accidental loss of device with company data, employee walking off with device or malware creating havoc with the device.  Many surveys conducted by Techaisle reveal that SMBs worry about these issues a lot but fail to protect themselves adequately. For example, 69 percent of SMB IT Decision makers in the US are concerned about accidental loss of devices containing sensitive data. And nearly 1/3rd of these decision makers are also concerned about inability to manage device configurations so that they comply with company policies. To top it all, there is the issue of managing employee devices that businesses did not buy.

Techaisle survey of 9,500 SMBs across different geographies show that accidental loss of device followed by imminent danger of mobile viruses are the top concerns of SMBs while using mobile applications. This also clearly demonstrates the need for remote mobile device management, authentication, and remote erasure of data.

 SMB Apprehensions in using Tablets and Smartphones


 

The above data clearly demonstrates the need for remote management, authentication, and remote erasure of data on mobile devices. Data no longer resides on tethered devices such as desktops but is spread across multiple devices that “move”. SMBs need to plan for it to make mobility an enjoyable and productive experience.

Codeproof is a simple to use, Cloud-based, SaaS, Freemium model MDM

In four easy steps Codeproof MDM is up and running on iOS and Android devices. A Seattle-based company, Codeproof offers an integrated BYOD security and mobile device management platform specially targeted at small and medium businesses. Some of its main mobile security features are App-white listing, Malware protection and Mobile policy management. It is built on Amazon EC2 elastic cloud for scalability, anytime, anywhere access.

 Codeproof mobile policy screenshots


An admin can enroll all mobile devices to Codeproof by installing and enrolling Codeproof App on the device. As the devices get enrolled via the mobile Copdeproof app, the devices automatically appear in Codeproof Cloud console tree. The admin can now remotely manage all devices from Cloud console. When an employee leaves the company, the admin just deletes the corresponding employee MDM profiles (WiFi profiles, Email Profiles, etc.) thus disabling the devices from accessing any type of corporate data.

Codeproof is free for 2 devices and is priced at only 29.99$ per device per year. It is worth a try.

  0 Comments

Mobility is Strategic for 13 percent of SMBs - Meet "Aggressive Adopters" Segment

techaisle-smb-infographic-mobility-segmentationTechaisle’s SMB Mobility adoption research and corresponding segmentation shows that there are three distinct SMB segments of mobility solution users.

Aggressive Adopters: Mobility is Strategic to their business; these form 13 percent of SMBs

Steady Movers: Mobility is enabled in their business; by far the largest segment at 49 percent of SMBs

Fence Sitters: Mobility is a convenience for their business; these form 19 percent of SMBs

It is imperative for IT Vendors and channels to understand the segments' different attitudes towards mobility, current and planned usage of mobility and firmographics to create an actionable marketing strategey. For example, Techaisle’s SMB Mobility Segmentation shows that for 13 percent of SMBs that fall into the Aggressive Adopters segment mobility is strategic to their business growth and survival. A deep understanding of the three segments will help IT vendors and channel partners identify their target markets and how to sell into them.

Sales Strategies for SMB Mobility Segments

techaisle-smb-mobility-segments-1

Even in terms of spending, aggressive adopters are spending a higher percentage of their IT budget on mobility solutions. Interestingly, Fence Sitters are spending comparatively higher percentage on mobility consulting assessments looking for advice on the most appropriate solutions before adopting mobility enterprise-wide.

BYOD Policy and Use of Tablets & Smartphones

Not only Aggressive Adopters were the first to use tablets and smartphones but they also have the highest density (mobile devices per employees) and highest average number of tablets and smartphones being used at all employee size levels among all three segments.

techaisle-smb-mobility-segments-2

There are twice as many SMBs in the Aggressive Adopters segment as Fence Sitters that use Tablets and Smartphones.

Aggressive Adopters have also moved quickly to implement a BYOD policy whereas a large percentage of Steady Movers do not have a BYOD policy but they also do not stop their employees from using their own devices.

 

techaisle-smb-mobility-segments-3

Aggressive Adopters also have a very healthy attitude towards employees using consumer applications at work as they feel it is a good way to learn about technology that their employees find useful and can be officially integrated into their business.

 

techaisle-smb-mobility-segments-4

 

Adoption of mobility solutions has also led to a positive effect on work-life balance of their employees. Aggressive Adopters have also seen improved productivity, higher employee satisfaction and improved quality of work.

 

With improved productivity and quality of work there will be a continued proliferation of mobile devices and corresponding solutions that will drive new forms of collaboration of content and communication. As devices become increasingly small, smart, connected and powerful, the server and network become less visible progressively moving offsite both physically and from a management perspective, simultaneously serving more computing power, storage and bandwidth; mobility will revolve around collaboration delivered through an enhanced browser. Therefore, todays Aggressive Adopters will look for integration of communication channels, content and workflow as the foundation on which to build their strategic mobile solutions.


The responsibility lies with the IT Vendors and their channel partners to effectively mine the Aggressive Adopters’ segment at the same time using realized proof points to move each of the other two segments (Steady Movers and Fence Sitters) to the Aggressive Adopter segment.

In terms of market opportunity, Aggressive Adopters show the highest growth rate for mobility spending requiring sophisticated solutions whereas Steady Movers have the biggest size due to sheer volume of SMBs falling into the category.

  0 Comments

Apple Moves Some Manufacturing back to the US – Techaisle Take

In a very interesting move, Apple announced that they would invest in returning some production to the US. At first blush, this seems like a bold tactic  which will certainly improve Apple’s brand reputation in the wake of long-standing criticism for moving skilled manufacturing jobs to China, where worker pay and conditions are bad enough to drive some to suicide. And as the number one technology company in the world it is also heartening to see some jobs come back home, but there are a few caveats:

The Apple MacBook is the top of the line notebook with a premium price point, out of reach for most small businesses unless there is strong justification, such as for professional designers and developers who need to pay double that of a similarly equipped Wintel device to do their work effectively. That share of the market has always been small relative to Wintel machines, both desktop and notebook. Apple manufactured Macs in the US until the mid-nineties, after most competitors had moved production offshore. The caveats include 1) whether this experiment will grow to the more strategic iPhone and iPad product lines, and obviously, 2) whether Apple can turn a profit that makes the decision stick after the first $100M is spent.

Apple cites the inability to find the level of skills and manufacturing equipment in the US to be able to turn out production rapidly and with high quality. No doubt Foxxconn, Apple’s Chinese production partner, who already operates some plants in the US, will be looking to expand operations here. They had issues ramping up production to meet demand for the new iPhone and there were hiccups, followed by reports of Foxxconn negotiating multi-billion dollar deals in Brazil, to manufacture there. Regardless of how that materializes, today’s announcement will dampen some criticism that would accompany the final press releases from Sao Paolo.

Enter the Dragon


Rise of LenovoAnother reason this makes sense to us is that China’s technology vendors are on the rise – no surprise there. But consider that within 7 years of buying the ThinkPad brand and manufacturing rights, Lenovo has become the #1 PC vendor in the world in unit shipments, (#1 by Gartner, #2 by IDC) squeezing 10% out of the global share in a stagnant market in the last few years alone while jumping to 30% share in China, 3X the nearest competitor.  It was also announced today by Reuters that Apple fell to #6 in the Chinese smartphone market, which is growing in leaps and bounds to 60M units per quarter, with intense domestic competition and Samsung leading the pack. Lenovo is number 2 in the smartphone market as well as having the overwhelming first place position in PCs mentioned earlier, #5 smartphone seller Huawei, is gobbling up global market share in the telecom equipment market at an alarming rate.

Married to China - Economist CartoonWe have written several times about the rising competition from China in the hardware manufacturing end of the IT market, and of its’ growing importance as the second largest PC, and largest Smartphone market in the world, with a billion users and 60 million units sold per quarter. As shared with our readers in a September article about Internet adoption and managed economies, China and Korea have many similarities that make for a reasonable scenario of things to come. Take it from someone who lived 15 years in Asia and has been watching Korea for 30 – the voracious appetite for material wealth, pragmatic style of government and East Asian capitalism will leave no stone unturned. Take Samsung for example: between 1990 and now they have become the number one maker of TVs in the world, starting from scratch and displacing the Japanese faster than they displaced American manufacturers, #1 in memory chips and some other semiconductors, #1 in Smartphone handsets (almost double Apple in unit shipments), a global leadership position in screen technology, squeezing Sharp, Toshiba and others for the keys to the future standard, and a global frontrunner in CE and white goods. These guys are US Steel in their heyday. And they are a major supplier to Apple for the most important products. And the legal battles are not over yet, according to this CNET News video. They have Foxxconn on the left and Samsung on the right. With friends like these who needs enemies?



CNET on Samsung Apple Lawsuit.

Strategically Apple’s move is understandable, at least from the outside looking in. Steve Jobs’ genius for aesthetic design, usability and commitment to quality helped create the PC revolution, arguably the single most important technological advance aside from the Internet since the Industrial Revolution. It also got him ousted from Apple as decisions about long term architecture were made. Although Apple always had (and still has) a very loyal following in the computing arena, they did not gain more than 10-12% market share from 1980 to 2000. This meant that Apple had to drive enough margin to support R&D for operating systems, a proprietary microprocessor, end user applications and non-standard chassis and other components.  By contrast, the rest of the PC market leveraged standards and Scale Economies as investments were diffused in the market. The Microsoft standard OS and a maturing suite of interoperable applications were the lynchpin of the ecosystem and resulted in hundreds of companies joining the competitive fray. White box and private label manufacturers sprang up everywhere, eventually producing branded competitors like Dell and Compaq who were selling practically as fast as they could produce. By 1996 Apple was being counted out by many analysts as an also-ran. Eventually in 1997, Jobs was brought back in to save the company, which was considered a very risky personal move at the time.

iPod 2G brings legal music to the massesIn his second stint as CEO, Jobs turned Apple around and helped solve a problem that almost put the recording industry into insolvency; how to make money in the music business when new technologies allowed free files to be distributed at will and pirated on a global scale. Apple introduced iTunes in conjunction with EMI, and solved the Digital Rights Management issue. Under Jobs they had to kowtow to Redmond and adopt compatible MS Office Application Suites, which were not interoperable to that point – no swapping files between Apple and Microsoft users, and move to an Intel architecture. Despite several earlier failures, such as the Newton, Apple achieved a breakout hit with the iPod, and iTunes began printing money. Next came the iPhone, which almost immediately become the third largest handset brand in the market, followed by iPad in 2010, and several versions of iPhones. The products have produced a ravenous worldwide customer base and made Apple the most valuable (tech) company in history with a half-trillion dollar war chest.

The point is that Apple’s meteoric rise is more a function of the transition to CE and Smartphones than its’ leadership in computing and now they are in a bind; they are stretching their existing supply chain, they rely on advanced manufacturing resources and skilled labor that have been developed offshore, their largest potential market (China) is controlled by arch-rival Samsung, with whom they are in a nasty legal battle and depend on for key components. Prepare to Repel Boarders.

Next Chapter in the Bits vs. Atoms Saga


The Crown JewelsApple’s success with iTunes came as a result of a property of the Internet that is now at the root of their problem: value moves at the speed of light when it can be digitized, and even when that value is in the form of an optimized supply chain, there are physical limits imposed by materials and the movement of products that ultimately make manufacturing a challenging business. On one hand you have companies like Apple, who source, manufacture, sell and distribute 125 million smartphones, along with millions of other devices. On the other hand there are companies like Google, whose value can be delivered over a network, relying on increasingly large server farms and unfettered access to electricity, but with much less need for operational infrastructure. Cisco and Oracle are another example although not as stark. Huawei is exerting substantial pressure on US firms as a global competitor and causing Congressional sabre rattling, as we noted here.  Telecom equipment has been a hardware-oriented business but is less at risk because of innovation toward software and network integration – moving toward bits and away from atoms, demonstrated by Cisco's recent alliance with Citrix. Earlier we discussed Lenovo, which has overtaken first Dell and now HP and is the global leader in PC unit shipments.

As noted, we think moving some manufacturing back to the US will bring some benefits, not least of which is the PR value of bringing some jobs back home. It is slightly diluted by the fact that production of the most important product lines will not be possible for some time to come and does not decrease reliance on Foxxconn or really help with the Samsung conundrum. However if the experiment succeeds and a profitable advanced manufacturing sector can be developed and others follow suit it will be a very good thing for all of us in the technology industry.

  0 Comments

Search Blogs

Find Research

Blog Archive

Research You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon

Techaisle - TA