According to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the U.K., small and medium enterprises represent 99.9 percent of the 4.8 million U.K. private sector enterprises and account for more than 49 percent of the private sector revenue. Clearly these smaller firms form a significant component of the U.K. economy, and recent data from CompTIA’s U.K. Small and Medium Enterprise Technology Trends study shows that they have a dependence on technology as a way of bringing expanded capabilities and allowing them to compete in a fast-moving marketplace.
The easiest way to determine an item’s priority in a company is to examine its budget allocation. Reviewing budget plans among U.K. SMEs confirms that IT is a high priority; nearly half of the companies in our study (49 percent) are planning on increasing IT budgets this year, while another 40 percent expect to keep their IT budget flat. It is telling that SMEs are not planning on reducing their technology spend during difficult economic times—this suggests an acceptance of IT as an enabler of business objectives and efficiency gains.
How are SMEs planning to spend their technology budgets? Two areas stand out. First, mobility is a key topic among small and medium enterprises. Mobile connections for customers and mobile access for employees are the top two areas SMEs would like to address in the immediate future. Smartphones and tablets play heavily into upcoming purchase plans, but building full solutions for mobile environments will extend beyond devices and involve application development and proper support methodology.
A second area that SMEs are focusing on is their networks. One in four SMEs plans on upgrading their network in the next year. This is likely due to the fact that network equipment is beginning to fall into disrepair, and firms realize that the growing dependence on technology requires a robust network for carrying and storing data.
One final area of interest for solution providers is the adoption of emerging technologies among SMEs. Although only 9 percent of SMEs classify themselves as early adopters, the adoption of new technologies or strategies suggests that firms are conservative in rating their adoption. The adoption rates for social media (26 percent), cloud computing (18 percent), and mobile solutions (16 percent) are already fairly high, and each of those areas factors into upcoming plans in at least 26 percent of firms. Clearly there are opportunities to capitalize on the ways that these new technologies are finding their way into the enterprise.
The full report from CompTIA research is available at no charge to members. The data also will be presented at CompTIA’s upcoming EMEA Member Conference in London on November 9. If you would like to hear more, plan on attending the session “Technology Trends that are Shaping the IT Industry.” Hope to see you there!