It would not be a stretch to say that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) form the backbone of the American economy. According to the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of the six million U.S. employer firms and create more than half of the non-farm private GDP. Clearly these smaller firms are a significant group, even if they do not necessarily generate the biggest headlines.
SMBs do not have the same resources for lobbying or marketing that large enterprises have, but there is still recognition that they have unique needs. Both the House and Senate have standing committees focused on small businesses, and many large vendors also have specialized parts of their organization for SMB sales and support. Technology is one of the key areas of interest for SMBs, since the proper use of technology can give a smaller business capabilities on par with a larger company.
CompTIA’s 3rd Annual Small and Medium Business Technology Adoption Trends study surveyed 600 SMBs to learn about the current state of IT in these companies, their purchasing trends, and their familiarity with emerging tech topics. With IT budget increases averaging over 5 percent and one third of SMBs planning increases of 10 percent or more, there is plenty of opportunity to bring technology solutions to the small business sector.
Many IT projects compete for priority at small businesses, and building mobile solutions for customers and employees is near the top of the list. Thirty percent of the companies in our survey already have mobile solutions in place, with medium-sized companies leading the way. Another 35 percent want to build mobile solutions in the next year, with the adoption rate among smaller companies increasing dramatically.
Although mobile solutions entail software applications in addition to hardware, device usage and purchase plans also reflect a trend towards mobility. Thirty-seven percent of firms already have tablets in place as corporate devices, and another 37 percent plan to purchase tablets in the next year, making it the most popular device in purchase plans. Laptops and smartphones were the next most popular purchase choices, indicating a shift to a three-device system for many employees. In addition, SMBs are
dealing with the consumerization of IT, as 85 percent of companies see employee-owned devices being used for work.
Mobile solutions are just one example of a technology trend that is becoming more accessible to SMBs and giving them expanded capability. Cloud computing, social media, and business intelligence are also hot topics. The full study, available to CompTIA members at no charge, dives further into these other trends and also explores the challenges faced by small businesses in IT purchase and support. We welcome your feedback on the report in the comments below!