Small businesses are embracing tablets like the iPad and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, a Spiceworks survey finds.
The bring-your-own-device trend is gaining traction at small and midsize businesses, with 75 percent of small businesses currently helping manage and support personal devices employees bring to work, according to a Spiceworks survey of 1,498 IT professionals in 100 countries.
However, the survey indicated IT professionals at SMBs are split on supporting BYOD, with 25 percent claiming it is a headache for their IT departments. The most popular BYOD devices were the Apple iPhone and Google Android-based smartphones, as well as Apples iPad tablet. According to the report, 60 percent of respondents supported iPhones, 55 percent supported Android phones and 41 percent supported iPads.
Overall, IT budgets continue to rise, with 2012 budgets up 6 percent to $152,000 for the first half, compared with the second half of 2011, rising 15 percent year-over-year. Hardware purchases gobble up the biggest slice of the IT budget (40 percent) with software (34 percent) and IT services (26 percent) following. Fifty-six percent of SMBs are retaining their IT head count, and 30 percent intend to hire additional staff in the next six months.
On the hardware side, the purchase of new desktops (93 percent) and notebooks (80 percent) are the top priority, while software purchases are dominated by antivirus/anti-spam (61 percent) and backup/recovery buys (53 percent). Web hosting (54 percent) was the top IT services purchase, according to the survey. Planned purchases of tablets are on the rise, with 62 percent of SMBs deploying or planning to deploy devices like Apples iPad within the next six monthsup from the 50 percent who planned to do so in the second half of 2011.
Small businesses also continue to adopt cloud-based services (now used by 48 percent of SMBs) and virtualization (currently used by 64 percent of SMBs) but at a slower pace than before, according to survey results. The top five cloud services, by usage, are Web hosting (49 percent), email hosting (32 percent), data backup (25 percent), content filtering (24 percent) and application hosting (23 percent). Data backup led the list of cloud services SMBs are planning to purchase in the next six months, followed by application hosting, data storage and email hosting. Although virtualization adoption may be slowing, SMBs are virtualizing more applications than before, with small businesses virtualizing an average of 3.1 applications, compared with an average of 2.1 applications a year ago, according to the survey.
"Data from this recent survey confirms that the consumerization of IT is flourishing among SMBs, although opinions vary on how to manage its impact on organizations," Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Spiceworks, said in a statement. "The results also show that SMBs are spending more on technology across the board, from hardware and devices, to cloud services and virtualization. This bodes well for technology vendors serving the SMB market in 2012."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.