Cost-Conscious Businesses Expect Growth in 2010, Report Says

Reports from Compass Intelligence and Yankee Group predict cost-conscious businesses are planning for growth in 2010.

According to new research from Compass Intelligence, big information and communications technology (ICT) vendors are starting to "get" small to medium size (SMB) customers online. Compass' latest rankings of ICT vendors' capability to build relationships with midmarket customers online shows this. From Microsoft to Dell, the top vendors are using multimedia and interactive learning experiences to build relationships with these customers.

Compass Intelligence's primary research showed that SMBs rely on the Internet to guide their technology purchasing decisions (for home and office) - thus Web channels are a must have for ICT vendors. Additionally, the company's research shows that SMB decision-makers expect their businesses to grow in 2010 and believe in the value of investing in high-tech now. Top-ranked vendors include Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco, HP, IBM and Dell, with Microsoft leading on multimedia learning experiences, vertical industry segmentation and solution-oriented content, among other things. Compass also noted more companies invested in and redesigned their online presence for small and medium-size business segments in 2009 than in previous years they've done this research.

"We estimate that SMBs represent more than $300 Billion in ICT spending - including telecom, computer systems and personnel. This big number is expected to grow between 5 percent and 8 percent over the next five years, making the SMB market one of the last, best growth opportunities for ICT vendors in the long-term," says Kneko Burney, chief strategist of Compass Intelligence. "With a surge in ICT spending expected from this market and others in 1Q 2010, building effective web channels now means garnering profitable and potentially fast-growing revenue from this segment in the not-so-distant future."

Earlier this week, analyst firm Yankee Group came out with its own set of predictions for 2010, betting that next year will be a year of rebuilding for the communications sector. The firm predicted scord-cutting will double yet again in 2010, and consumers will continue to drop land-line phone service in favor of mobile, while mobile broadband replacement will accelerate. Yankee also said it thinks one in three businesses will invest in a new class of cloud-based IT service management (ITSM) tools to manage hybrid IT infrastructures of physical and virtual assets.

The report, "From Crisis Comes Opportunity: Yankee Group's 2010 Predictions" forecasts opportunities in key areas including cord cutting, devices, cloud computing and network innovation. "We cannot all remain scarred by the economic events of the last 16 months and miss out on the first fruits of the recovery," said Chris Collins, Yankee Group senior analyst and report co-author. "Companies that continue to adapt and innovate are best positioned to prosper in the new decade."