Considering Web 2.0's emphasis on lowering technological barriers of entry -- by reducing both complexity and costs -- we weren't surprised by recent AMI-Partners research that found that more than 40 percent of SMBs in the U.S. are using Web 2.0 technologies.
Web 2.0 is about "the power of the masses," says an AMI-Partners analyst in this CIOUpdate article. It makes tech more democratic, by opening it up to companies other than those that can pay big bucks for it.
Software-as-a-service is one of the best examples of this. AMI-Partners expects the number of SMBs using SaaS to grow from 14 percent to 38 percent in 2007. (Other analysts, including Gartner, are predicting robust growth in SaaS at companies of all sizes.)
Also popular with SMBs: Webcasts, podcasts and blogs, which help them cost-effectively market their products and services; Skype and mobile instant messaging, which create additional low-cost communications channels; and online communities and portals.
AMI-Partners predicts major growth in hosted CRM and salesforce automation solutions, online storage and backup, and Web-based productivity tools.