When most people think of small-to-medium business and IT, the word "conservative" often comes to mind.
But a recent survey of 406 companies with employees ranging from 10 to 999 employees found that the number of these companies that described themselves as being early adopters of new technologies had increased to 31 percent, which is double what it was a year ago.
The survey, conducted by CompTIA, an association that promotes the interests of IT services companies, was conducted last fall during the depths of the recession. The growing interest in new technologies amongst a segment of companies that are traditionally seen as laggards when it comes to new technologies suggest that not only are these types of companies becoming more comfortable with new technologies, they are also seeing them as helping them compete more effectively.
According to Tim Herbert, vice president of research for CompTIA, the overall survey results show a strong interest in increasing productivity by leveraging technology. To that end, customer relationship management (CRM) topped the list of strategic IT initiatives at 80 percent. To accomplish that goal, however, there appears to be some recognition of the need to upgrade the underlying IT systems, with laptops at 37 percent topping the list of basic IT products that these companies intend to buy.
But when asked about emerging technologies they plan to invest in, managed services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) top the list, as seen in the accompany slide show at 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Arguably, neither managed services or SaaS are technologies, but rather ways of delivering technology. If you take those two categories off the list, then LAN hardware, encrypted drives and CRM software all tie for ninth place at 22 percent.
Given that the space between tenth and first place ranges from 22 to 30 percent in the survey, it's hard to say that one set of emerging technologies is dominant over the others. But what the results do indicate overall is that many more SMB companies today have come to see IT as a strategic set of tools even in the worst of times that allow them to compete more effectively against larger rivals.
And that will be one of the major themes of discussion at an upcoming IT Business Edge MidMarket CIO Forum taking place in Orlando, Fla. next month that you can register to attend here.