Over the last two decades, the global small and mid-market businesses, SMB (1-999 employee size) market has been the growth engine for the IT industry at large. The reason is quite simply that SMBs account for over 80 percent of businesses in any country – developed or developing. For much of those two decades, SMBs have primarily focused on building core infrastructure with the bulk of their investment allotted towards buying PCs and desktop applications such as Office, desktop publishing and other industry specific software. This initial phase was followed by a longer continuing phase wherein SMBs shifted their investments to Networking technologies. However, this was still part of core infrastructure investments made by SMBs.
The reason for this lengthy investment cycle was that investments occurred at different times for different SMBs depending upon firm size and geographies. SMBs form the essential thread of the economic fabric of any country and to a great extent their fortunes and investment capabilities are dependent on the economic situations and policies of the countries they represent. So as the fortunes of the emerging world turned favorable, so did the investment capacity of these SMBs. Conversely, as economies have stalled in recent times, investment capacity of SMBs has been deeply affected.
Tough economic times bring investment decisions into sharp focus. The result is typically lower investment levels. It also sharpens medium and longer term priorities. That leads to smart investments. But also investments made at this time become longer term drivers of investment for adjacent areas. We at Techaisle believe that the recent economic implosion acts as a catalyst for such action and change among SMBs.
The New SMB Imperative:
SMBs are sharpening their medium and longer term priorities leading to smart investments.
SMBs are now looking beyond infrastructure investments as their respective countries slowly emerge from the global downturn.
Enablement v/s Empowerment:
SMBs are being driven towards empowerment technologies that are outside of normal technology adoption curve.
SMBs in emerging market countries show greater intentions of investing in these new priorities than SMBs in mature markets.
Implications for Channel Partners:
Shift to newer priorities is and will impact channels the most in next five years.
New priorities bring to light new opportunities for vendors and channel partners to positively impact the success of SMBs on a global basis.
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