Shortly after I began seeing articles detailing AMI-Partners' recent research on SMB technology adoption and spending patterns, like this one on eChannelLine, I got a strong sense of deja vu.
AMI-Partners slices and dices the SMB market into four major segments or "tiers":
So why did this sound so familiar to me? Digging back into our archives, I discovered AMI-Partners had produced a similar report last year, in which it used the same four categories to classify SMBs. There were some interesting tidbits in coverage of both the 2007 report and this year's update.
In 2007, for instance, Tier 1 companies accounted for just 6 percent of SMBs. They spent, on average, 10 times more on IT than the Tier 4 companies. Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies were more at ease buying software from software vendors, while the other two tiers were more likely to buy software from retail chains like Best Buy.
The spending gap has apparently grown over the past year, at least in some areas. According to eChannelLine, in the most recent study AMI-Partners found that Tier 1 companies spend 15 times more than their Tier 4 counterparts on CRM software. Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies lead the other two tiers in adoption of CRM software delivered as a service.
Interestingly, all four SMB tiers expect a quicker ROI on their tech spending than their larger competitors. AMI-Paartners says that most SMBs expect an ROI within five months, while mid-size companies expect n ROI within 7 months.