Earlier this year, I wrote that Forrester Research and other analysts were expecting that, even with a slowing economy, SMBs wouldn't cut their technology budgets as much as their larger counterparts. Much SMB spending in 2008 would go toward bread-and-butter expenditures like data backup, security upgrades and storage, predicted Forrester and others.
A recent IDC study appears to show that current economic conditions may be tempering SMBs' interest in emerging technologies. According to John Roberts, IDC's research manager for Global SMB Research, who is quoted in a press release:
Despite the global slowdown, SMBs across all regions need to look ahead to when the global economy rebounds. Most still have a near term focus, with only modest interest in technology areas that have been getting a lot of attention elsewhere.
IDC asked SMBs around the world about five areas: future economic growth and business conditions, "green" technology, software-as-a-service, virtualization, and use of the Internet as a key business resource.
Economic conditions were top-of-mind for the SMBs. Among the technologies, they showed the greatest interest in use of the Internet as a key business resource, not a surprise since many SMBs already use the Internet for at least some business functions.
SaaS enjoys a fairly high level of visibility among SMBs, says IDC, though interest is still in an early stage. Virtualization and green technologies are on the radar of more sophisticated mid-size businesses, although not many smaller businesses are paying attention to these areas.
Strong vendor promotion should raise the profile of SaaS and virtualization among SMBs in the next 12 to 24 months, predicts IDC. (I just wrote about the growing vendor push for SaaS last week.) Green technologies will likely be a tougher sell, especially in less developed areas of the world.