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SMB IT budgets rose 15 percent in the past 12 months

Spiceworks™, Inc., the world’s largest social business network for IT, released the results of its bi-annual State of SMB IT survey of technology purchasing and adoption trends among small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). According to the survey results, SMBs are continuing to expand IT budgets, which now average £94,000 ($152,000) per year. The research also finds that SMBs across the board are increasingly adopting tablets, cloud services and virtualisation, but they are divided on support for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

 

Date: 8 May 2012

Twice a year, the Spiceworks State of SMB IT survey investigates the latest technology purchasing, usage and staffing trends among companies with less than 1,000 employees. This survey of 1,498 IT professionals in 100 countries was conducted during the first quarter of 2012 via the Spiceworks Voice of IT® market insights program. The majority (62 per cent) of IT pros surveyed are from companies with 20-249 employees, with a third of respondents from EMEA.

Survey highlights include:

IT budgets continue to increase, while new hiring holds steady
· · Overall IT budgets at SMBs continue to increase, growing six per cent in the first half of 2012 from the second half of 2011, and 15 per cent year-over-year. The average annual IT budget for SMBs now stands at £94,000 ($152,000), up from the £88,500 ($143,000) previously reported for the second half of 2011 and the £82,0000 ($132,000) reported for the first half of 2011.
· · Fifty-six per cent of SMBs are retaining their IT headcount and 30 per cent intend to hire additional staff over the next six months. These metrics remain consistent with the results from the second half of 2011.

Tablet purchases and planned deployments rise, while new hardware grabs majority of IT investment dollars
· · Sixty-two per cent of SMBs have deployed or plan to deploy tablet devices, such as iPads, within the next six months. That figure is up from the 50 per cent reported for the second half of 2011.
· · The largest portion of IT budgets (40 per cent) will be allocated to hardware purchases, followed by software (34 per cent) and IT services (26 per cent). Among planned hardware purchases, new desktops (93 per cent) and laptops (80 per cent) top the list, while anti-virus/anti-spam (61 per cent) and backup/recovery (53 per cent) are the most popular planned software purchases. The two biggest planned IT services purchases are web hosting (54 per cent) and ISP (44 per cent).

Cloud services and virtualisation adoption continues on an upward trend, but at a slower rate
· · Cloud services are now used by 48 per cent of SMBs, up from 46 per cent in the second half of 2011 and 28 per cent for the first half of 2011.
· · The top five cloud services by usage are web hosting (49 per cent), e-mail hosting (32 per cent), data backup (25 per cent), content filtering (24 per cent) and application hosting (23 per cent). The top cloud services that respondents plan to purchase in the next six months are data backup (17 per cent), application hosting (12 per cent), data storage (12 per cent) and e-mail hosting (11 per cent).
· · While virtualisation adoption showed signs of slowing, SMBs are virtualising more applications than before. Currently, 64 per cent use virtualisation, up from 61 per cent during the second half of 2011 and the 54 per cent reported for the first half of 2011. In addition, SMBs using virtualisation are now virtualising an average of 3.1 applications compared with an average of 2.1 applications a year ago.

BYOD trend impacts SMB IT departments
· · Seventy-five per cent of SMBs currently help manage and support the personal devices employees bring into the workplace. iPhones, Android phones and iPads are the most popular devices, with 60 per cent of respondents supporting iPhones, 55 per cent supporting Android phones, and 41 per cent supporting iPads.
· · IT professionals at SMBs are split on supporting BYOD. While 20 per cent fully embrace the trend as the future, 35 per cent concede that it works well for some devices, but not for others, 25 per cent claim it’s a headache for their IT department, and the remaining 20 per cent have not yet formed an opinion.

“Data from this recent survey confirms that the consumerisation of IT is flourishing among SMBs, although opinions vary on how to manage its impact on organisations,” said Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of Marketing for Spiceworks. “The results also show that SMBs are spending more on technology across the board, from hardware and devices, to cloud services and virtualisation. Despite facing a double dip recession, SMBs in the UK are investing in IT for better growth.

This bodes well for technology vendors serving the SMB market in 2012, and for the development of this sector to drive forward recovery in the UK.”

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