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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.

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.

 

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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.

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Blessed are the Mid-Markets, for they shall Scale Big Data

In a parody of Start Trek, Silicon Valley technology companies describe their business goal as “Scale, the final frontier…”.  Mid-market companies, defined as those having 100-2500 employees, may indeed provide an opportunity to emerging technology vendors to scale their business. According to Techaisle, a market research firm, these 800,000 global companies spend $300B on IT and are sought after by technology vendors big and small. In the last decade, technologies such as Cloud, SAAS and Virtualization have reached scale with a large number of mid-market companies as early adopters. Intuit, Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Amazon are just a few examples of companies who have relied upon mid-market companies as a key building block for their business.

What does this mean for Big Data? To find out, Carpe Datum Rx spoke to “SMB Guru”, Anurag Agrawal, CEO of Techaisle and the former Head of Worldwide Research Operations at the Gartner Group. Techaisle recently talked to 3,300 global businesses about their Big Data adoption plans. Here is an excerpt from our discussion.

The SMB Market is considered the Holy Grail for technology vendors because it is hard to penetrate. Does your research show that mid-market companies will adopt Big Data before large enterprises do? Are they the early adopters of this technology?


Yes, you are right the SMB Market is the Holy Grail as it is hard to penetrate but with the highest potential. To elaborate, there are slightly over 70 million small businesses and 800,000 mid-market businesses worldwide. They constitute over 97 percent of the business segment. And their collective IT spend is projected to grow by 6.5% between 2013 and 2016 which is quite a lot faster than the Enterprise segment. To really identify the SMB segments and their type of technology spend is a mind-numbing exercise due to the sheer volume of data points. This is compared to the enterprise segment where there are fewer companies and larger dollar amounts being spent.

To answer your second question about whether mid-market businesses will adopt big data before large enterprises, let us look at some facts. Cloud computing started as an enterprise play, however, it was quickly discovered that SMBs would be the more relevant target segment with a faster path to adoption. Similarly, as enterprises adopted Virtualization, vendors shifted their focus to the SMBs with some very creative solutions. Mid-market companies, defined as those with 100 to 2500 employees could certainly be the early adopters of Big Data. We recently did a study where we surveyed 3,360 mid-market businesses worldwide covering all regions – North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America. What we found is that the promise of superior data-driven decision making is motivating 43 percent of global mid-market businesses to at least look at Big Data technology. And above all, 18 percent of mid-market businesses are now investing in big data related projects.

In the mid-market segment, there is also a competitive imperative to understand customers, create innovate products and improve operational efficiencies. They are not burdened with too many silos and large legacy systems deployments. The absence of large legacy systems is an important point to consider because it makes mid-market businesses more agile to implement new types of solutions that solve their business problems. It is expected that in year 2016, global SMBs would spend US$3.6 Billion on big data solutions exhibiting a growth rate that is faster than what was exhibited by cloud computing solutions.

We understand that you cast a very wide net to get your 43% number. Is there a consistency in the sentiment on big data across different parts of the world? 


Yes, we had to cast a wide net to really understand the adoption and trends within mid-market businesses. And yes, there is a difference across geographies and employee sizes. North America has both the largest market and the highest level of adoption in Big Data overall. In terms of actual deployment activity, the market grows in relation to the size of the companies. Additionally, mid-market business attitude towards Big Data transitions from “Over-Hype” to must-have technology with the increase in employee size. Let me give you some examples. A small-to-mid-sized bank is developing a Proof of Concept for fraud analytics. Another example is of a small advertising agency that is trying to deploy digital advertising analytics. So big data is not only within the radar of enterprises, the same problems exist across all sizes of business, only the volume of data, available budget and the required simplicity varies. The problem is that we all get caught up in technology which instills a sense of fear. We have to shift the conversation from technology to solving business problems.

Big Data adoption is often stalled by a lack of knowledge or understanding of the technology and its capabilities. Do mid-market companies have a better understanding of this technology than large enterprises? Do they have an advantage over large enterprises in implementing effective solutions?


You are right. Three things – Technology, Resources and Data are the biggest roadblocks for big data project implementations within mid-market businesses. In recent years technology and technology options have evolved extremely rapidly for an average business to understand, evaluate, purchase and implement. Big data is no different. Mid-market businesses consider big data as very complex resulting in very steep learning curves. The complexity gets further exacerbated with lack of experience, lack of skilled manpower and innate difficulty in identifying external consultants who would be the right fit for their big data business objectives and budget availability. In spite of challenges, the study shows that there have been some successes when business units, IT & data analysts exhibit extraordinary alignment.

Our study shows that mid-market businesses typically start their big data journey in one of four ways and the highest success rates have been achieved when IT and data analysts work with external consultants from project inception. It is still very early days for these businesses to fully embrace big data but the seeds are being planted. And we believe that these businesses may very well race ahead of enterprises with their deployments as technology becomes simpler and consultants become experienced. As we like to say it, SMBs could be the path to big data simplicity.

You talk about the linking of structured and unstructured data. Why is this problem so important compared to all the others? 


The issue of analyzing data from diverse sources leads a mid-market business to naturally consider linking structured and unstructured data. If we look back, CRM solutions had first established the need for analyzing customer data. However, the data was mostly two-way transactional structured data. This changed when customers began visiting business websites to explore, browse and perhaps make purchases thus leaving behind a trail of information. And everything changed with the onset of social media, blogs, forums, wikis and opinion platforms where the identification of false positives and negatives became difficult and knowledge about the customer and resulting segmentation became an inaccurate undertaking. Big data analytics presents the possibilities of connecting together a variety of data sets from disconnected sources to produce business insights for generating sales, improving products or detecting fraud. Thus the importance of linking structured and unstructured data to analyze social media data, web data, customer and sales data along with click-stream machine generated data and even communications data in the form of emails, chat, and voice mails. But extremely limited expertise creates a major challenge. If they can figure it out, one-fourth of mid-market businesses say that they will use big data as an integral part of their overall analytics efforts. The possibility of analyzing a variety of data producing action-driven business insights is too big to ignore for mid-market businesses.

How are big data projects getting started globally? Are they championed by LOB managers? Are they getting adequate support from executive management? Are customers demanding it?


The study reveals that the initiators are marketing, finance or operations and the ultimate user of the analytics is the business user. Big data requires a new type of alignment between business heads, namely, marketing and finance (main drivers of big data projects), IT and a completely new set of players known as data scientists or data analysts. As I mentioned before, once the decision is made mid-market businesses show an extraordinary alignment across departments. Our study shows that mid-market businesses typically started their big data journey in one of four ways. However, the highest success rate was achieved when an external consultant or organization was brought in to develop proof of concept, advise on database architecture and ultimately develop the big data analytics solution right from the moment of project inception.

What is one piece of advice or Carpe Datum prescription can you share for our members?


You have adopted cloud, you have adopted mobility, you have adopted social media so do not be afraid to develop Big Data analytics proof of concepts. Do not ignore big data just because of perceived complexity and big data solution providers’ inability to create bite-sized messaging that directly address pain-points. Do not forget that business intelligence has now become one of the fastest solutions to be adopted by SMBs and mid-market businesses. If done right, big data will address three key pain points: Increased sales, More Efficient operations, Improved Customer service.

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Are SMBs the guiding path to Big Data Simplicity?

Various organizations define Big Data differently. Some use “petabytes of data” as a benchmark to isolate big data from other normalized and structured data sets that exist within an organization. However, this measure quickly boxes big data analytics into the large enterprise market segment. Small and mid-market businesses certainly do not have this extent of data but Big Data still relevant for them. In fact Big Data solutions are more relevant for Small and Mid-Market businesses. However, it will take some creativity on the part of solution providers to make Big Data accessible, easy to use and comprehend for segment that constitutes 97 percent of global businesses.

Cloud computing started as an enterprise play, however, it was quickly discovered that SMBs will be the more relevant target segment with a faster path to adoption. Similarly, as Virtualization market started getting fully penetrated within the enterprises, vendors shifted their focus to the SMBs with some very creative solutions. As far as big data is concerned SMBs are starting to show interest and even adoption. However, there is a stark difference in approaches between mid-market businesses and small businesses. While mid-market businesses are experimenting with bespoke solutions, small businesses are gravitating towards a multi-tenant, aggregated and federated big data solution that has a mix of publicly available data and their own internal data.

It is expected that in year 2016, global SMBs would spend US$1.6 Billion on big data solutions exhibiting a growth rate that is faster than what was exhibited by cloud computing solutions. Cumulatively between now and end of 2016, SMBs itself would have shelled out US$3.9 billion on big data solutions. This spending includes hardware, software and services.

So why are many big data solution providers ignoring SMBs? Simply put, because of perceived complexity and inability to create bite-sized messaging that directly address SMBs pain-points. But they should not forget that business intelligence has now become one of the fastest solutions to be adopted by SMBs. If done right, Big data address three key pain points of SMBs: Increase sales, Efficient operations, Improve Customer service.

Promise of Superior Decision Making

Let us take Techaisle’s recent global mid-market businesses’ Big Data Adoption & Trends study which clearly shows that the promise of superior data-driven decision making is motivating 43 percent of global mid-market businesses to either invest in or investigate Big Data technology. Out of these, 18 percent of mid-market businesses are actively investing in big data related projects. The possibilities of analyzing a variety of data sources, producing action-driven business insights is too big to ignore for these businesses.

Similar to cloud, the attitude towards Big Data is transitioning from “Over-Hype” to “Must-Have” technology with the size of business. Even within the businesses that consider big data to be over-hyped, 29 percent think that it will be an important part of their business decision making process in the future.

Extracting Business Perspectives

Business intelligence by itself has provided enough business insights, however, mid-market businesses are now looking for extracting business perspectives to drive superior decisions and ultimately achieve superior results.  Extracting business perspectives has become important as they rethink their marketing strategies because mobility, social media, and other transactional services have increased the number avenues for connections with their customers and partners.

CRM solutions had first established the analytics for analyzing customer data. However, the data was mostly two-way transactional data. This changed when customers began visiting business websites to explore, browse and perhaps make purchases thus leaving behind a trail of information. IT vendors and mid-market businesses figured out the need to analyze the data and combine it with transactional information.

However, everything changed with the onset of social media, blogs, forums, wikis and opinion platforms where the identification of false positives and negatives became difficult and knowledge about the customer and resulting segmentation became an inaccurate undertaking.

Big data analytics presents the possibilities of connecting together a variety of data sets from disconnected sources to produce business insights whether be for generating sales, improving products or detecting fraud.

It is therefore not surprising that global mid-market businesses are turning towards big data analytics to analyze social media data, web data, customer and sales data along with click-stream machine generated data and even communications data in the form of emails, chat, voicemails.

Leap of Faith or Solution Readiness

Analyzing data from diverse sources leads a mid-market business to naturally consider linking structured and unstructured data. This also drives them to evaluate and select the technology that can be used for simplified implementation. Simplified implementation is important because mid-market businesses do not yet have in-house capabilities to analyze unstructured data and those that have them consider the capabilities at best rudimentary.

Big data therefore is a major leap of faith for mid-market businesses resulting in treating big data analytics projects usually as separate to the existing analytics within the business. More aggressive adopters are planning to use big data analytics along with other analytics in a coordinated manner so that one does not become an inhibitor for the other.

In recent years technology and technology options have evolved extremely rapidly for an average business to understand, evaluate, purchase and implement. The complexity gets further exacerbated with lack of experience, lack of skilled manpower and innate difficulty in identifying external consultants that would be the most right fit for their business objectives and budget availability.

In spite of challenges, the study shows that there have been some successes when business units, IT & data analysts exhibit extraordinary alignment. Our study shows that mid-market businesses typically started their big data journey in one of four ways. Highest success rates for project implementation and generating new insights have been achieved when IT and data analysts work with external consultants from project inceptions.

SMBs as the Path to Big Data Simplicity

The global SMB spend on big-data related deployments will cross US$1.0 billion in 2013 which is a 32 percent increase from 2012. SMBs are still experimenting to see if big data analytics can provide newer insights into their operations and better knowledge about their customers. It is still very early days for small and mid-market businesses to fully embrace big data but they are planting the seeds in terms of re-architecting their IT infrastructure to plan for the future. But we believe that SMBs may very well race ahead of enterprises with their deployments as technology becomes simpler and consultants become experienced.

 
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