But the news is NOT all bad. According to SpiceWorks latest State of SMB IT report, there was a 9% increase in second half 2011 budget forecasts, the highest planned budget uptick over the past two years. Despite all of the negative worldwide economic news and sentiment , and decided impact enterprise IT spending, small and medium business leaders are optimistic enough to grow IT spending further.
According to the 962 respondents, SMB IT spending on hardware, software and services has increased from an average of $108K per organization in 2009, to a planned $143K in the second half of 2011. Hiring demands are increasing at the same time, from a low of only 20% planning staff additions in the latter half of 2010, to 31% currently planning staff additions. These findings are leading some to predict that the ability to attract and retain talent will quickly become a major IT challenge.
SMBs are leveraging more cost efficient and agile IT strategies to be frugal, but at the driving business operating efficiency and effectiveness. As a result, SMBs have invested more in certain infrastructure areas, especially virtualization, up 7% from prior period, and cloud computing, nearly doubling every six months, especially in storage and backup services. Spurred by mobility and usability demands, the survey revealed that tablets are taking SMBs by storm as well.
SMBs Ready to Celebrate Good Times?
Even though growth is evident for SMBs, pressures remain to drive IT and business operations cost savings, while creating a more flexible / mobile environment for business success.
Here’s where we think the SMB challenges will be for 2012, and tips for how IT solution provider sales and marketers can best succeed in addressing these opportunities:
Even though good economic news is hard to come by, SMBs might represent the one bright spot for IT vendors in 2012.
However, even with the proposed budget increases, SMB IT leaders are still forced to do more with less, remaining quite risk adverse and price-focused. Business, customer and competitive demands all remain high, likely outstripping the modest expected budget gains. This presents unique challenges for IT solution providers seeking to capture more SMB opportunities in the New Year.
Successful sales and marketing groups will recognize the spending bright spot, putting in place the content marketing and sales enablement strategies to help facilitate SMB IT to address the challenges of modestly increasing budgets in tough times. This should include: