SMBs Get Big Attention from IT Industry

Opinion: The small to midsize business market is finally receiving the attention it deserves.

If William Shakespeare were alive today and working as a business or technology journalist, he might feel compelled to pen the following: "Whats in a small or a midsize business? That which we call an SMB by any other name would smell as sweet."

By the same token, if Gertrude Stein had a tech blog, she might write: "An SMB is an SMB is an SMB." They are all the same but different.

Small and midsize businesses have always been there.

In fact, they have long formed the backbone of our economy.

The numbers vary, depending on who is doing the measuring, but those businesses classified as SMBs invariably outnumber "large" enterprises many times over.

Research company IDC, for instance, presented figures at its Directions conference this month that show there are more than 40 million small (fewer than 100 employees) and home-office businesses in the United States, compared with about 8,000 companies that employ more than 1,000.

Despite overwhelming numbers, it seems the IT industry is just waking up to the SMB market.

Its about time.

Even though the largest enterprises spend more than SMB companies on technology, SMBs still spend plenty.

Also significant, according to IDC, is that SMBs are more consistent when it comes to purchasing technology.

SMB tech spending has grown every year since 2001, while overall tech spending—led by large companies—slumped badly in 2001 and 2002 and is still recovering.

Its no coincidence that we are now seeing more products targeted at the SMB market than ever before.

For example, eWEEK Labs, in the last month, has produced several comprehensive reviews of new products tailored to SMB needs.

The Labs reviewed Hewlett-Packards Small Business SAN Kit, which brings storage area networks to SMBs.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read the Labs review of HPs Small Business SAN Kit.

Wireless networking deployments are also reaching into every corner of the business world, from home offices to large enterprises.

Consequently, the Labs reviewed new wireless LAN switches with extra security features that wont break the budget, from vendors Symbol and Trapeze.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read the Labs review of Trapeze Networks MXR-2 Mobility Exchange, click here.

The wealth of products and solutions now filling the SMB gap presents opportunities for small and large businesses alike.

To determine whether these new products might be right for your organization, you must ask: "What kind of business is my company?" The answer may not be obvious.

Next Page: Different definitions.

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...