Virtualisation, SaaS and CRM top the shopping list
New research from Microsoft has revealed that most small and medium businesses (SMBs) are looking to increase their technology spending over the next year, despite have reservations about the current business climate.
The second annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report found that SMBs are interested in technologies that will directly improve their bottom line, either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers.
The survey quizzed more than 500 Microsoft partners in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil and India about the spending habits of their SMB customers. The majority (63%) of respondents predicted that customers will spend more on IT in 2010, up from just 25% in 2009. Overall SMB IT spending is anticipated to rise by an average of 16 percent over 2009 levels.
Virtualisation, IT consolidation, SaaS, CRM, and support of remote workers were the top priorities for tech investment, the survey found. 41% of SMBs view server virtualisation or IT consolidation as the best cost-saving technology, while SaaS also appears in the top three technologies for both cost savings and business growth.
“The most competitive SMBs are investing in IT that will not only help protect and strengthen their business, but prepare them for success when economic conditions improve,” said Birger Steen, vice president of SMB & distribution for the worldwide small and midmarket solutions and partners group at Microsoft. “Technology can buoy smaller businesses through turbulent times — and which technologies SMBs choose can help determine the speed of their return to financial stability.”
The survey also found that mobile platforms are set for an increase in popularity. 74% of Small Business Specialists believe their customers will have more remote workers, up from 54% in 2009. The average mobile worker headcount is expected to increase by 19%.