MidMarket IT Getting Pulled in Multiple Directions

Michael Vizard

When it comes to IT, small to medium-sized businesses in a recent CompTIA survey of 404 customers said that their top five challenges in order are smaller budgets (42 percent), followed by increasing productivity (28 percent), keeping systems operational (27 percent), legacy systems (26 percent) and maintenance costs (25 percent).

Given the current state of the economy, smaller budgets shouldn't come as much of a surprise. But the strategies that these companies are adopting to meet the challenge vary widely.

For example, when asked what their strategic goals are, 80 percent identified using customer relationship management (CRM) software, followed by enhancing IT security at 75 percent. Using ERP and improving network bandwidth were tied for third at 71 percent and then improving electronic commerce at 68 percent.


But when asked what products and technologies they plan to acquire in 2010, the top five items were notebooks at 37 percent, followed by netbooks and productivity suites both at 31 percent, and then desktop PCs and smartphones at 30 percent each. In addition, the list of emerging technologies that SMB companies planned to invest in was led by managed services, software-as-a-service, VoIP/telephony, secured data storage and backup and server virtualization.

In terms of the people deploying more SaaS, 22 percent plan to add accounting software in a SaaS format, followed by business productivity at 20 percent, business intelligence at 18 percent, and payroll and CRM both at 17 percent.

And just to make matters even more interesting, the top measurements for IT success were defined as reducing the number of software licenses in use at the company and reducing IT headcount.

Clearly, companies in the SMB space are wrestling with a lot of conflicting goals in 2010, which is one of the reasons that being a CIO in a midmarket company can be so tough. Midmarket CIOs need each other to provide mutual support, which is one of the primary reasons that IT executives should sign up for the upcoming MidMarket CIO Forum in Orlando, Fla.

In the meantime, if you're feeling like you're being pulled in multiple directions every day, don't feel bad. Apparently, so is everyone else.

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Feb 10, 2010 7:06 AM Melissa Digitalis Melissa Digitalis  says:

One way in which CIO's are fighting this battle is by using free ware instead of paid for. However a number of CIOs have misconceptions about the use of free software. A recent research paper by Global Graphics found that the main driving points behind these concerns is the availability of support (66%) and quality of product (68%). But what about the CIOs take on potential benefits? Find out more about the CIO view on free software at: http://bit.ly/GlobalGraphicsfreesoftware.

Feb 22, 2010 2:36 AM Chris Corbet Chris Corbet  says:

Do you think that Business Intelligence investments will end up being higher?  Theres a good bit of efficiency and cost savings to be gained with the right information up front.

Here's a video example of a Hardware Inventory solution that provides B.I.  Armed with this data, IT can make better decisions about how to spend their budget and proactively keep systems operational:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBJY7iLhmeQ

Mar 10, 2010 5:44 AM Sarah Conway Sarah Conway  says:

After reading the Economist's special report on data, it seems that even mid-sized organizations can't ignore the need to better manage it. This helps explain CRM and BI as goals. I know limited money, means limited purchases, but the mid-market should at least explore open source systems for things like business intelligence, enterprise content, web, and digital asset management. Check out this site: https://olex.openlogic.com/#searchoptions to find and vet different open source packages for information management.


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