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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.

Converged Mobility: 2-in-1 PCs in the SMB segment

Techaisle’s SMB research on Tablets, PCs and Smartphones usage has found that 28 percent of SMBs are aware of 2-in-1 PCs, and 15 percent are considering purchase in the next one year.  Marketers have done a generally good job of building awareness which is highest at 73 percent within the 500-999 employee size businesses in the US. However, marketers have not succeeded in creating consideration to purchase from awareness within mid-market segments.

Globally there are 265 million mobile SMB employees who are telecommuting, traveling and/or using cloud-based services.  The potential market is therefore massive. However, most SMB employees are already two-device users and are on their way to becoming a three-device user as they gain power of device choice, bringing personal experiences to work and vice-versa. The odds of a tablet and notebook both needing to be refreshed at the same time is low, and therefore it may be difficult to position a 2-in-1 PC as a replacement for either device. Nevertheless there are seven different potential market opportunity segments and each of these seven opportunity areas has scenarios in which 2-in-1 PCs might gain share – but each has its challenges.

The SMB survey data also indicates that general-purpose devices are losing ground to task-specific devices, a trend that would negatively impact middle-ground opportunity. Further, 2-in-1 PCs will likely be at a price disadvantage to Android PCs, which will begin targeting this same niche. PC OEMs will need to position the benefits of both the 2-in-1 PCs and their unique approach to these devices, while attempting to avoid the confusion that has hampered progress in the SMB market to date.

When we sift through the data on different perspectives on 2-in-1 PCs’ positives and negatives, we see that there are some core strengths to build upon, but that some design changes will be needed before these products can make a serious run at the endpoint device (PCs, Tablets, Smartphones) market’s middle ground. The moving parts needed to enable a 2-in-1 are also viewed as a drawback/potential point of failure for these products. And the overall diversity of approaches to enabling 2-in-1 functionality – ranging from detachable displays to Ferris wheel, flip/fold, swivel/twist and slider-based approaches – has confused the market. Too many options in the marketplace provide choice but also cause purchase inertia. This is a high-stakes issue for 2-in-1 PC OEMs and those with successful designs stand a much better chance of growing with the market than those whose designs are marginalized.

The aggregate opportunity for 2-in-1 PCs is compelling but there is no aggregate marketing strategy that will capture this opportunity. PC OEM marketers will need to align with the market opportunity segment that they can best develop, and ensure that their message and activity content is consistent with the conditions that govern the target area.

techaisle-tablet-pc-smartphone-continuum-blog

The 2-in-1 market is an attempt to fill a ‘middle ground’ that has been created by the trend towards multi-screen endpoint device strategies. Techaisle’s research shows a usage continuum of endpoints. On one side, there are desktop devices capable of creating content. At the other end of the spectrum, there are smartphones that lack the tools needed for content creation, but provide a lightweight, mobile option for content consumption. On this continuum, tablets are also primarily consumption devices, but can be used for light content creation, while laptops are capable of creating content, and can be used as a mobile consumption port. 2-in-1 devices are targeting the space between tablets and laptops. They are attempting to provide better creation options than are found with tablets, while offering a form factor better suited to consumption than is found with traditional laptop.

Techaisle believes that the key to 2-in-1 PC success within the SMB market will be the ability to articulate the benefits of the “middle ground” – the combination of consumption and creation that 2-in-1 PCs can address better than either tablets or traditional laptops.

More detailed data is available in Techaisle’s report titled “SMB End-Point Device Adoption Trends: Tablets, PCs, Smartphones” which covers:

  • Current and Planned purchase Intentions of client devices: Tablets, PCs, Smartphones
  • Current and Planned Tablet OS & Application adoption trends
  • BYOD trends within SMBs
  • XP, Windows 8 refresh intentions
  • New OS PCs: Chromebook, Android adoption trends
  • Converged Mobility PCs trends: 2-in-1 PCs
  • Purchase Channel and Sources of Information
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Small Businesses exhibit remarkable consistency in their business Value-Statements

Across geographies (US, Germany, Australia and India) and across different years, small businesses are showing remarkable uniformity and consistency in their response to which value statement best describes their business.  We first asked small businesses in 2010 (for India in 2012) to tell us which one of the following statements best described their business success:

    • Business success depends upon a strong relationship with the customer & being responsive to their demands

 

    • Business success depends upon implementing highly efficient & optimized processes to deliver products/ services at the lowest possible cost

 

    • Business success depends upon implementing cost effective IT solutions to improve productivity, efficiency and profitability

 

    • Business success depends upon ability to consistently innovate and bring cutting edge products to market



We did expect customer relationship to be garnering highest number of responses. What we did not expect was the rapid rise in efficient process implementation with the size of business. We certainly did not expect the same sentiment to be represented across four different countries – US, Germany, Australia and India.

In 2014 we repeated the question to a completely different random sample of small businesses and we got similar responses across all countries.

The data clearly shows that for very small businesses, business success is dependent upon customer delight whereas for 50-99 employee size businesses, process efficiency and optimization also become important. The data consistency exhibits that irrespective of size or maturity of country, small businesses have similar mindsets in what defines their business success. With this foundation in place small businesses systematically build their business but the rate at which they are able to truly scale and achieve their value statements becomes dependent upon the absorption of IT. In fact, the role of IT has increased by an average of 38 percent between the two years of comparison. In today’s market, IT is generally delivered in the form of systems that improve sales process efficiency and visibility, collaboration, project management, analytics and social marketing systems that capitalize on connectedness within an economy that increasingly relies on person-to-person, cloud-enabled communications.

techaisle-small-business-value-statement-blog

 

There is tremendous future interest within SMBs in cloud-based marketing systems, sales systems, and solutions supporting business operations. Availability of cloud-based business solutions will drive tremendous growth in automation across seven functions:

1/ Marketing solutions
2/ Sales systems
3/ Customer service solutions
4/ IT Operations solutions
5/ Solutions supporting business operations
6/ Solutions supporting financial operations
7/ Solutions supporting HR/talent management

And when we further consider that each solution area can (and often does) incorporate multiple applications, and that some cloud applications are outside of these seven areas, we will see that both the scope and depth of cloud workloads will increase to support small business value-statements.

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80 Percent of SMBs say Cloud Computing helps Grow Their Business

Techaisle’s recently completed US SMB Cloud Computing Adoption Trend research shows that Cloud computing – which IT suppliers often position as a means of reducing cost – is viewed by 80 percent of US SMBs as a solution that contributes to business growth. This is a huge departure from previous years when reducing cost used to be the overarching objective. It implies that cloud vendors and resellers should expand their marketing dialogue beyond the cost and CAPEX vs. OPEX motivations for cloud adoption and focus on ways in which cloud-based solutions enable SMBs to expand their reach to new markets and customers. In fact, over 40 percent of SMBs state that business agility and new capabilities are driving SMB cloud adoption.

This new trend of SMBs adopting cloud for business growth creates a “perfect storm” of opportunity for cloud computing. It satisfies the demand for new technology-enabled business capabilities such as mobility, social media, business intelligence/analytics and collaboration by providing a platform for supporting these initiatives. At the same time, as IT continues to struggle with cost control, cloud provides a clear means of reigning in CAPEX and reducing management costs.

Techaisle’s survey data shows that while there is broad recognition of the importance of business agility as a cloud benefit, a “mid-SMB” niche exists – stretching from 50-250 employees – in which IT productivity is the overarching cloud objective.

The key reasons for using cloud and benefits realized vary by size of business as well as issues that are of critical concern to SMB organizations. For example, small businesses (1-99 employees) focus tightly on business benefits: increased business agility is the most compelling cloud benefit, followed by obtaining capabilities that would have been cost/time prohibitive, reducing business process-related costs, and improving business staff productivity. Mid-market businesses (100-999 employees) also appreciate these outcomes – but the highest-ranked benefit of cloud is IT related, with “make our IT staff more productive” cited as a compelling cloud benefit by nearly 60 percent of mid-market businesses.

Drilling down into the different sizes of businesses the 1-9 micro-business group also places a high value on using cloud to reduce process costs, which makes a great deal of sense, since these tasks are likely not automated in any fashion today. Respondents in the 250-499 employee size segments prioritize use of cloud to increase business user productivity, while the 500-999 employee segments is focused on cloud delivery benefits such as capabilities/agility and IT productivity. Analyzing the data by BDMs and ITDMs, the study finds that these groups have different perspectives on how cloud delivers value to their companies.

Marketers can use this data to establish broad themes for the US SMB market, and then tailor their appeals to specific sub-segments based on demonstrated needs and expectations. For more details or to learn about Techaisle’s SMB Cloud Computing Adoption Trends report please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Techaisle survey data shows BYOD is a major force in the US SMB Market

techaisle-smb-byod-trend-end-point-device-adoption

To set the context for a BYOD discussion Techaisle’s survey on end-point technology status of SMBs provide an intriguing set of statistics through which we can assess recent endpoint trends. BYOD is clearly a major force in the US SMB market. BYOD purchases accounted for 13% of all new laptops, 17% of all new tablets, and 22% of all new smartphones purchased by US SMBs in 2013. This creates challenges for both IT management, which needs to establish methods of managing these devices, and for suppliers, who need to work with SMBIT to secure their position in the main endpoint categories, and also appeal to business managers and individual buyers to ensure that they are not left out of a major portion of the market. Techaisle’s SMB End-point survey data shows that approaches to BYOD –brand selection, reimbursement, application download and support – vary with employee size, with small SMBs leaving most of the decision, cost and support to individual users, and larger SMBs tending to involve business and/or IT management in these activities.

The survey data also shows that overall frequency of device purchases, which speaks to the erosion of the notebook market as emphasis shifts to alternative screens; in 2013, a higher percentage of US SMB employees were using tablets and smartphones than notebooks purchased within the year.

Suppliers need to recognize the distinctions that are apparent across employee size categories, and structure their offerings accordingly. IT vendors courting the very small business (1-19 employee) segment should recognize that employees are most likely paying for and supporting these devise themselves; as a result, IT vendors will need to offer financing and vendor/carrier-supplied, business-grade support options. In larger SMBs, specifically, mid-market businesses, funding and support is more likely to come from business and IT management; in these segments, OEMs are advised to establish programs that make it easy to onboard, secure and support new devices and users. In both cases, there are gaps in policies; suppliers who help businesses to establish and implement effective BYOD practices may be able to position their products favorably as a result.

SMB employees driving much of the activity is also creating sales and marketing challenge for suppliers: opportunities to sell brands and configurations that are outside corporate specifications, and challenges in aligning channel strategies to a market that includes both IT and individual employees (business management) as important buying groups.

Within the SMB context, BYOD itself comes in several ‘flavors.’ Techaisle survey data shows that on hand an SMB employee both selects and pays for a new device, delighting the CFO, but causing problems for IT. On the other, the SMB employee pays for the device, but selects it based on guidelines or an approved list – an approach (referred to in some cases as CYOD) that appeals to both the CFO and IT, but might not be completely satisfactory for the employee. BYOD can take any one of these paths and add some level of reimbursement for the purchase from the company and/or technical support for the devices, which has both upside (because the employee selects technology that he/she is comfortable with) and downside (the cost burden rests, at least to some extent, with the company rather than the employee) for the SMB business owner. And regardless of the approach chosen, some SMBs are instituting formal contracts that provide them with authorization to secure and (if necessary) ‘wipe’ employee-owned devices.

Who selects the BYOD brand?


The most critical BYOD question for IT manufacturers revolves around brand selection: is it done by the employee or the employer? Survey data shows that the answer depends largely on the size of the SMB business.

Who pays the BYOD bill?


One of the contentious issues in BYOD is the matter of responsibility for funding the device purchase. Many employees view BYOD as an attempt by their SMB employers to shift costs from the business to its staff. Many SMBs, on the other hand, see BYOD as a means of ensuring that employees have access to the technology that they like best. Some employers view paying for the devices as a means of building goodwill with staff (and/or as a means of building a basis for exerting management control over the devices), while others believe that simply allowing the devices to be connected to corporate assets represents contribution enough.

Who is responsible for BYOD support?


In our survey, we asked respondents to identify the ways in which their organizations support BYOD devices. The findings provide a fascinating insight into the ways in which BYOD devices are integrated into the corporate endpoint portfolio from no support at all to commitment to full integration of BYOD devices.

What is the policy with respect to app downloads on BYOD devices?


One of the key employee benefits associated with BYOD devices is that employees have a platform on which to run personal applications. What, though, is the implication for business applications? Are employees free to select any app that they choose, or should the business play a role in directing or determining the selection of business apps? Results from the survey suggest that the degree of formalization associated with app selection and installation varies from no formal policy to a very structured approach.

Is there a contract in place to govern BYOD use?


The final BYOD issue investigated by our survey related to the creation of contracts between employers and employees. Techaisle considers these contracts to be important to the success of BYOD strategies, as they provide explicit employee agreement to IT activities necessary to safeguarding corporate apps and data and we expect that this will become standard HR practice in BYOD-friendly SMBs over time.

About the Report

Coverage:

  • Current and Planned purchase Intentions of client devices

  • Tablet OS & Application software adoption – Behind the Screen

  • BYOD: Employers vs. Employees, or Micros vs. Larger SMBs?

  • Across the OS generations: XP, Windows 8 refresh intentions

  • The Android Opportunity: Google in the PC Market

  • Converged Mobility PCs: 2-in-1 PCs

  • PC Purchase Channel and Sources of Information


More details about the report can be found here.

Related Research Articles

Seven Key Trends and their Meaning: SMB Endpoint Device Market in 2014

SMB Purchase Intentions for Android PCs

Key Attributes of Successful SMB Mobility Solutions
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