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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 SD-WAN adoption unlocks business potential for MSPs

SMBs are wrestling with many challenges, including unreliable network connections, cybersecurity and privacy concerns, productivity issues, and support. In addition, SMBs are mindful of the need for help composing, deploying, and managing digital business infrastructure. The recent surge in remote work has also significantly increased the requirement for effective networks and network management and the complexity of deploying a holistic digital business infrastructure.

SMB networks and network management resources are not as sophisticated as those in enterprise environments. As a result, SMBs will encounter high incidences of network issues such as delivering robust support for videoconferencing and jittering and extending security across distributed applications, devices, and networks.

Networking, a necessary foundation for digital business infrastructure, is a particularly onerous IT management category. Techaisle survey data shows that managing network hardware or network support consumes 47% of SMB IT staff time.

In response to explosive increases in demand for deployment and support of digital business platforms, resource-constrained SMBs are looking for new solutions. They are looking for MSPs as external service providers – and they are looking at SD-WAN. Techaisle data shows that SD-WAN adoption among SMBs will likely grow by 160% within one year. The adoption growth rate is second only to 5G. There is a firm belief within the SMB community that SD-WAN is a critical technology for enabling digital transformation within the SMB segment.

This data indicates a significant and growing opportunity for MSPs to help SMBs deploy digital business infrastructure and manage the associated networking challenges. So what do MSPs need to do to capture this new business?

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SD-WAN adoption likely to increase by 145 percent within US SMB and Midmarket firms

SMBs are increasingly becoming aware of SD-WAN and its advantages. SD-WAN adoption is likely to grow by 145% within the US SMB market within a year. Techaisle survey data shows that today, only 10% of SMBs are currently using SD-WAN solutions, but 25% are planning adoption. Networks are a clear pain point for SMBs as they embark on digital transformation to align with the emerging requirements of the post-pandemic world. Networks consume scarce IT resources, and they are the critical link providing the connectivity that unlocks all other digital opportunities and potential. Techaisle’s survey data shows that 47% of SMB IT time is allocated to networking-related issues. Nearly 90% of SMBs believe that proactive, consistent network management to deliver ideal performance is important.

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Hybrid work is challenging the SMBs

Techaisle’s SMB and Midmarket Hybrid Work Adoption Trends survey indicates that 41% of SMBs plan a phased approach to return to the office, up from 22% in 2021. 20% of employees will likely work from home, in sharp contrast to 58% in 2021, similar to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when 29% of small business (1-99) employees, 9% of employees within midmarket firms (100-999), and 7% within upper-midmarket firms (1000-4999), who worked from home. Techaisle survey also shows that 42% of employees want to work 3-4 days per week from home.

Security, remote IT support, and unreliable networks continue to be significant technology challenges in managing remote workers. Remote IT support is an especially acute inhibitor for 46% of small businesses. On the people-side of the hybrid work equation, work-life conflict, maintaining team cohesiveness, and lack of training/career implications are dominant challenges. As a result, only 11% have a hybrid first mindset, but 37% believe they have mature remote work practices.

Team collaboration solutions, office collaboration tools (conference room devices), and remote worker collaboration devices (headsets, video cameras, etc.) are the top three priorities for 45% to 58% of SMBs. PC upgrades and refreshes to enable a hybrid workforce are the fourth top priority for 39% of SMBs.

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WW SMB PC market forecast to reach 104.5 million units in 2022

Techaisle’s PC market study forecasts SMBs worldwide are likely to purchase 104.5 million PCs in 2022, a growth of 3.4 percent from 2021. The North American and Western Europe SMB PC shipment growth rates will likely be below 3 percent. 20-49 employee size segment will see a 3.9 percent growth rate, the highest among all employee sizes.

In 2022, SMBs are looking past the PC supply-chain challenges and focusing on improving employee experience, better security features offered by Windows 11, and accelerated move to cloud infrastructure requiring modern PCs. The transition to cloud infrastructure will also enable SMBs to utilize computing as a service rather than physical servers for their businesses, shifting spending from CAPEX to OPEX. The IT budget surplus will allow SMBs to purchase newer, more powerful PCs for further growth endeavors. In addition, SMBs prefer easier manageability, cost-effective provisioning, and simpler remote management to improve IT efficiency, available in Windows 11. Techaisle research data suggests that Windows 11 deployment momentum is building. Each of the above factors will drive SMB PC shipment and growth in 2022. 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 promise to deliver more than an incremental improvement in performance and features, and even price-conscious small businesses benefit significantly from replacing older PCs with newer PCs.

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