Top 20 SMB Technologies and Purchasing Trends

Quick Reference: SMB IT Spending Trends

Small and midsized businesses in the United States spent $200 billion on technology, with the lion’s share going to support and integration services, computing platforms and Internet access, as these organizations increasingly look to technology to help fuel their growth and increase productivity.

According to a new SMB IT spending survey conducted by CompTIA and AMI-Partners, SMBs are being deterred by economic downturns caused by rising energy costs and the subprime mortgage woes. Rather, they’re looking at significant expansion. Nearly two-thirds plan to add between 1 and 5 employees in the coming year, and one-quarter will add more than six employees.

Staffing plans are spurred by a rather optimistic outlook for revenue performance in 2008. Nearly half (45 percent) are forecasting revenue growth of 10 percent or better; while one-fifth say their revenues will grow 20 percent or more.

Fueling growth, in part, is investments in new technologies and upgrades to existing infrastructure. According to the survey, SMBs are heavily invested in key technologies that were once previously reserved for enterprises or have plans to invest in new, advanced technologies.

The following are the top technologies that SMBs have either deployed or plan to purchase in the next 12 months:

1.Desktop PCs98%
3.Productivity Software Suites90%
5.Single-function Laser Printers76%
6.Accounting/Tax Software69%
7.LAN-based Servers67%
8.Fax Machines67%
9.Routers and Switches65%
10.Color Multifunction Printers64%
11.Full-function Copiers59%
12.Desktop Publishing Software57%
13.Color Laser Printers57%
14.Remote Access/VPN49%
16.Secure Backup/Disaster Recovery47%
17.Time Management Software47%
18.Wireless/Wi-Fi LAN44%
19.Word Processing software39%
20.Spreadsheet Software37%

According to the survey, 64 percent of SMBs characterize themselves as “value adopters,” or companies that will wait until technology is proven before purchasing it but not waiting so long that they become laggards.

The survey found several technologies previously reserved for the enterprise are gaining traction in the SMB market. These technologies include:

1.Custom Software31%
2.Web Services and applications28%
3.CRM/Sales Force Automation23%
4.Software as a service (SaaS)20%
5.IP Telephony19%
6.Storage Area Networks19%
7.ERP/Supply Chain Software18%
8.Open Source/Linux Applications18%

While SMBs see technology as a means for growing their businesses and gaining operational efficiencies, they are also challenged by management and maintenance costs, scalability and integration issues. Pervasive among the more than 700 survey participants is the need for value; most are willing to pay for the technologies they need so long as they can justify and contain the total cost of ownership.

Brand leadership and brand loyalty play little difference in purchasing decisions, while competitive pricing ranked among their chief purchasing criteria. Competitive pricing is also the area where SMBs say vendors need the most improvement. This shows SMBs will go with technology providers that deliver the best value for their businesses.

NEXT: SMB Spending