SMBs Increasing Budgets, But Not IT Staff

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    Small business IT budgets are growing, but not their tech staffs, according to the latest Spiceworks State of SMB IT report.

    The average annual IT budget is now $162,000, up from the $152,000 reported for the first half of 2012. Only 26 percent of SMBs plan to hire IT staff in the second half of 2012, which is down from 31 percent a year ago. IT staff size will remain the same at 61 percent of responding companies, up from 56 percent six months ago. Only 4 percent will reduce staff, according to a poll of 1,356 IT professionals globally — 62 percent from North America — in companies with less than 1,000 employees.

    They plan to spend 40 percent of their IT budgets on hardware, 34 percent on software and 26 percent on IT services. The survey showed mid-size companies with higher levels of cloud service adoption than even large companies with 62 percent of all respondents using them. That number’s expected to rise to 73 percent by mid 2013.

    The most common cloud services being used were web hosting, email hosting, data backup/recovery, application hosting and content filtering. They’re most likely to add in the next six months data backup/recovery (17 percent), application hosting (14 percent) and data storage (12 percent).

    Fifty-nine percent of respondents have a BYOD initiative, and among businesses with fewer than 20 employees, that number rises to nearly three-quarters. More than half (53 percent) of SMBs support company-issued tablets on their networks, with an additional 12 percent planning to support them in the first half of 2013.

    With the small-business IT pro typically a jack-of-all-trades, managed services allow companies to offload much of the maintenance and babysitting of equipment, allowing the tech staff to focus with business leaders on more strategic uses of technology, as InformationWeek points out.

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