SMBs Embrace New Technologies

Any idea if your SMB clients are aware of, interested in, or ready to buy cloud services? Virtualization? A new report lays it all out. By Cecilia Galvin

There has been a lot of talk about the cloud, virtualization, and mobility lately. A lot. But where do your SMB customers stand on these technologies-are they aware, interested, or ready to buy? A new research report, State of SMB IT 1H 2013, from the research arm of Spiceworks Inc., is providing some answers. And if your company is offering or plans to offer the aforementioned technologies, you'll like the figures from the first half of this year.

According to the report-from a semiannual study of 1,000 SMB IT pros and IT departments with fewer than 1,000 employees-cloud-based and hosted IT services have found a home in SMBs. Smaller organizations are more likely to use cloud services than their larger counterparts, and they use more of them. For example, SMBs with fewer than 20 employees use an average of 5.3 services. What they adopted first are the usual cloud suspects: Web hosting, hosted email, and online BDR, followed by productivity solutions, sales support, and business applications.

Likewise, virtualization is trending upward, jumping 7 percentage points from the previous study that covered the second half of 2012. With virtualization, however, the larger organizations are leading the adoption charge. While just more than half of organizations with fewer than 20 employees are using server virtualization, 81 percent of companies with 250 to 999 employees have adopted the technology.

And then there's mobility. As the survey report puts it, IT pros anticipate a tidal wave of tablets. Currently 59 percent of survey respondents say they have tablets on their networks, up 6 percentage points from the previous survey. Researchers anticipate that the trend will continue, with perhaps 70 percent of SMBs reporting tablet use at the office by the end of this year.