A study issued by IT management software specialist Spiceworks revealed that small and midsize businesses continue to embrace advanced technology-including tablet computers, cloud services and virtualization technology-at a rapid pace. According to the results of the company's State of SMB IT survey, nearly half of SMBs have adopted tablet computers and cloud services, while IT budgets for the second half of 2011 saw the greatest jump in more than two years.
The report found 50 percent of SMBs have deployed or plan to deploy tablet devices, such as iPads, within the next six months, and noted adoption of cloud services continues to rise rapidly among SMBs, while virtualization is still their top IT initiative. Cloud services are now used by 46 percent of SMBs, a significant rise over the 28 percent that reported using cloud services in the first half of 2011 and the 14 percent that reported doing so mid-year 2010.
Virtualization continues to dominate the SMB market, the survey found. Currently, 61 percent of midmarket businesses use virtualization, which is up from the 54 percent that reported using virtualization during the first half of 2011. In addition, IT budgets saw the largest increase in two years as SMBs continue to add IT staff. Overall IT budgets in the second half of 2011 grew 9 percent when compared with IT budgets for the first half of 2011-the largest increase in two years.
The average annual IT budget for SMBs now stands at $143,000, up from the $132,000 previously reported for the first half of 2011. Nearly one in three SMBs, or 31 percent, plan to hire IT staff-which is consistent with data Spiceworks reported for the first half of 2011. "Despite market fluctuations, 2011 proved to be a great year for disruptive technologies as SMBs increasingly adopted tablet computers, cloud services and virtualization technology," said Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Spiceworks. "The results of our most recent survey show SMBs making similar strategic technology investments with expanded budgets-pointing to a stronger market for IT products and services among small and mid-sized businesses in 2012."
The Spiceworks State of SMB IT survey is a semi-annual global study that investigates the latest technology purchasing, usage and staffing trends among companies with less than 1,000 employees. The study of 1,200 IT professionals was conducted during the fall of 2011 via the Spiceworks Voice of IT Market Research Program.