Many of the trends we discussed in 2011, and saw in 2012, were pretty much spot on. Technology like mobility, tablet style endpoints, cloud computing, big data, and virtualization were big in 2012. Even with the languishing U.S. economy, IT spending among the SMB subsector was slightly up for the bulk of 2012. That being said, what IT solutions will the typical SMB entity be putting hard-earned capital into for the next 12 months? For that we’ll turn to the leader on all things IT, Gartner Inc.
In early November, Research Vice President Robert P. Anderson discussed upcoming technology trends with a specific focus on the SMB space and revealed several interesting statistics. According to Anderson, “of all global IT spend, 44% is in the SMB category.” (Anderson, 2012) I must point out that Gartner classifies organizations with 1,000 or less employees as small or mid-sized; a further break down groups companies with 100 or less employees as small business and 101-999 as mid-market businesses. Unfortunately, there is no standardization on what really comprises a small or mid-sized business and the definitions vary across the board. Anderson listed the top three business drivers in the SMB space as “increasing growth, attracting and retaining customers, and creating new products and services.” (Anderson, 2012) Not too dissimilar with the trends for 2012, right? Anderson goes on, “the top five predicted technology items on the SMB purchase radar include mobile technologies, analytics and business intelligence, cloud computing, desktop server and storage virtualization, and collaboration technologies.” (Anderson, 2012) Other technology trends in the mix include modernization of legacy systems and applications, upgraded security hardware and software systems, and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.
Upon closer look, mobility is essential for all the micro businesses that are springing up as a result of several iterations of this recession. For many of these entities, technology as a consumable resource is vital because these organizations don’t have cash on hand to procure expensive office space and all the accompanying utility requirements. These small businesses need to be agile to gain market share and acceptance, so mobile technologies are critical to making this happen. With the increased deployment of mobile devices comes the surge of headaches with managing it especially as you look at the companies with more than 20-30 employees. This is where rapid growth in something called mobile device management (MDM) is making major inroads and will continue to do so in 2013.