Getting back to the IDC research, how your company defines small and midsize is likely different from how vendors do.
For instance, IBM and HP both qualify SMBs at fewer than 1,000 employees, with the "small" subcategory as those with 1 to 100 employees.
To me, 1,000 employees is a lot of people and connotes "large" needs.
How many of you are working in a company of that size and consider it small?
Dell, which has mastered the art of segmenting markets, breaks it down even more, with companies fitting into fewer than 50, 50 to 99, 100 to 499, and 500 to 3,499 employees.
At Dell, 3,500 or more is considered large.
If you are an EMC customer, you are defined not by number of employees but by size of revenue.
SMB is less than $100 million, commercial is $100 million to $1 billion and enterprise is more than $1 billion.
With so many ways to define customer categories, can each of the vendors products match the needs of the businesses at which they are targeted?
Are the requirements of a $1 million company the same as those of a $90 million company?
Do 500 employees have the same needs as 3,499 employees?
Are IT managers paying enough attention to matching needs to products?
Theres a danger that small businesses may buy too much technology without realizing it.
They may not see a tailored, solution-specific version because their vendors consider companies of a certain size to be large rather than small.
Large enterprises may also be better served by "buying small"—looking to SMB types of hardware and software solutions for certain corporate departments.
To make sure vendors and customers win, both must be brutally honest about IT needs in question.
Vendors must stay flexible and adapt to the ever-changing SMB market. Technology buyers must conduct better due diligence to find the solution that best fits their business, be it a "large" company of 500 or a "small" $100 million company.
eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.