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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.

The Great Recession, Consumerization, and the birth of BYOD trend, more so in SMBs

The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend has its roots in two significant events that challenged corporate IT behavior. The first was the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009. The recession affected the entire economy, and IT was not spared its shadow. One key result of the recession was the interruption of regular refresh cycles. Prior to the recession, many businesses replaced endpoint devices (then, almost exclusively PCs) on a regular cycle – e.g., one third of devices would be refreshed every year, and the devices themselves would be used for three years, dividing the capital cost of keeping endpoint technology up-to-date across multiple annual budgets. The cash crunch that hit most businesses in the recession prompted many to forego refresh cycles, replacing individual units only when they failed. This approach did conserve scarce resources during the downturn, but when stability returned to the economy, CIOs realized that a large proportion of corporate endpoints were due for replacement – and CFOs realized that they lacked the CAPEX funds needed to refresh the entire endpoint fleet.

At the same time, another trend – Consumerization – was sweeping through the IT industry.

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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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Mobility becoming a niche within SMB Channel Partners

Where is the SMB mobility channel today, as we enter 2016? Results from three Techaisle SMB channel surveys and compiled in report The Channel and Mobility: SMB Supply Options show that there has been substantial retreat from mobility as a core offering in the SMB and midmarket channel. In two years, the proportion of partners stating that they are unsuccessful at selling mobility has increased from 5% to 17%. There are likely two main reasons for this, a “push” and a “pull,” both related to the increased need for specialization in 1-2 of four main market areas (mobility, cloud, managed services, converged infrastructure/virtualization).

On the “push” side, Techaisle believes that many channel partners are struggling to find a profitable entry point to mobility. Supply of the devices themselves is not sufficient: buyers are deploying a wide range of client technology (PCs, smartphones, tablets) which has the effect of diffusing investments in PCs, diverting investment from the channel (since some technologies, especially smartphones, are generally acquired from telcos or other non-traditional-channel sources), and slowing PC refresh cycles (since client technology investment is now spread across 2-3 different devices). Additionally, the rise of BYOD is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it increases the need for mobility management solutions (since these devices have greater need for security and related capabilities, such as audit/compliance monitoring), but on the other, authority for these devices doesn’t reside entirely within IT. And SMB channel partners are continuing to struggle on how best to offer mobility management solutions, mobility security solutions and bet on which vendor suppliers.

smb channel mobility success trend techaisle

On the “pull” side, channel members who are being forced to abandon the ‘one stop solution shop’ positioning in favor of specialization in 1-2 of the core four areas need to decide if the uncertain journey into mobility has a greater overall benefit than focus on cloud, managed services and/or converged infrastructure/virtualization.

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Look back on US SMB PC purchase intentions

Look back

As is the case in each year’s SMB research, Techaisle SMB survey respondents are asked to detail their plans for acquisition of different types of client devices. Two of the major categories investigated by the surveys are desktop PCs and notebook PCs. To establish a baseline understanding of PC use and demand, Techaisle asks SMB respondents to specify the number of endpoint devices that are currently in use within their companies, and then asks them to specify the quantity that they are planning to buy over the next twelve months. To provide actionable insight to our clients, the question asks separately about desktop PCs, notebook PCs and tablets. While 2016 survey is in the field it is worth looking at the trends of last two years. In 2014, both the US small and midmarket businesses were bullish about new desktop and notebook purchases. But in 2015, the percent of US SMBs planning to buy PCs had dropped by 40% from 2014 for both desktops and notebooks. However, although the average number units of desktops planned to purchase dropped from 2014 to 2015 the average number of notebooks planned to purchase increased substantially from 2014 to 2015.

2014-us-smb-pc-purchase-intentions-techaisle

2015-us-smb-pc-purchase-intentions-techaisle

Many desktop buyers were motivated to replace existing units because they were reaching end-of-life and take advantage of Windows XP upgrade path. Desktops are also more of a planned/budgeted item than other client form factors (notebooks, tablets), meaning that desktop acquisitions are more likely to appear in formal purchase plans than the mobile units, and less likely to be acquired on an ad hoc basis. Notebooks are usually ad hoc purchase items – meaning that they would be underrepresented in research of this sort relative to desktops. Additionally many users upgrade their notebooks over time (to replace damaged units, to get features like touchscreen, to obtain lighter or smaller products, etc.).

However, corporate purchase intentions do not provide a complete perspective on mobile device acquisitions.

Potential Impact of BYOD on US SMB PC Purchases

Figure below presents a perspective on corporate purchase plans and the impact of employee purchases of notebooks. The top two sections of the table, shaded in green, illustrate the proportion of businesses by employee size reporting desktop and/or notebook purchase intentions, and the number of units that they plan to acquire. These figures are used to prepare a “net increase” figure – the average number of new units expected to be deployed by businesses in each employee size category. These two grey sections are followed by a line of percentages, shaded in purple, which shows the ratio of corporate desktop purchases to corporate notebook acquisitions. It shows that microbusinesses with 1-9 employees are much more likely to be buying desktops than notebooks, and that other SMBs are planning to buy 25% to 99% more desktops than notebooks.

potential-impact-of-byod-on-smb-pc-purchase-intention-techaisle

The next section of the table, shaded in blue, begins with the BYOD penetration statistics that appear at the bottom of the figure. It then calculates the impact on notebook purchase intentions if this ratio is fully reflected in notebook purchases (the “at 100%” line) and if employees were to buy notebooks at half of the BYOD penetration rate (“at 50%), showing both corporate and employee purchases of these devices. These revised figures are used to calculate the desktop to notebook PC purchase proportions shown in the second set of purple-shaded cells. Here, we see that if employee purchases of notebooks are equivalent to current BYOD penetration levels, new notebook units would be about equal to new desktop purchases in most employee size segments, while a 50% scenario would result in ratios ranging from about 1:1 to 1:6 in all but the smallest employee size category.

 

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