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Two separate surveys show SMBs investing again for innovation, not just cost savings

Two separate surveys offer insight into second half buying priorities among small and midsize businesses across the United States.

According to the latest Annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report, 63 percent of technology solution providers specialized on smaller companies expect their customers to spend more on information technology during 2010, which is dramatically higher than the 29 percent who said the same thing in 2009. The survey, which was fielded among about 500 Microsoft Small Business Specialist partners, found that these partners anticipate that IT spending will rise an average of 16 percent over year-ago levels.

Priority investments being reported by this group of technology solution providers include virtualization and other consolidation technologies and services, software as a service applications, customer relationship management software, and technologies to help support mobile workers. For example, those surveyed said they expected a 20 percent increase in the number of their customers that use cloud solutions.

Birger Steen, vice president of Small and Medium Business & Distribution for the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group at Microsoft, says that whereas last year the Small Business Specialists said their customers were mainly conserved with savings as much money on their IT as possible, SMBs seem willing to invest again in applications and technologies that could help their business grow.

One of the most compelling data points in the survey: Almost three-quarters of those surveyed expect their customers to need to support more remote workers, which was up from 54 percent in 2009.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the United States are increasingly relying on new information technology (IT) solutions to strengthen their operational, marketing and customer engagement activities, according to a new study released today by CompTIA <> , the leading trade association for the global IT industry.

The Microsoft survey dovetails with new data from CompTIA’s Second Annual SMB Technology Adoption Trends study, which was fielded among about 400 SMBs with 10 to 499 employees during February 2010. Approximately 71 percent of the survey respondents said they would be willing to pay a premium for technology solutions that have a demonstrable return on investment (ROI) for their business.

The CompTIA survey also showed virtualization and mobility as key trends. For example, close to 40 percent of the SMBs say they plan to adopt server virtualization in the next 12 months. Almost half (45 percent said that enabling remote employees would likewise be a priority.

Another cool data point for you open source advocates out there: Nearly 20 percent of the surveyed businesses say they will begin using open source software in the 12 months.


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