The Collaboration Imperative For SMBs - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
02:49 PM
Randy George
Randy George
Connect Directly

The Collaboration Imperative For SMBs

Cloud computing has given SMBs more choices than ever for how to collaborate. That doesn’t mean improving communication will be easy.

InformationWeek SMB - March 2011  InformationWeek Green
Download the March 2011 issue of InformationWeek SMB, distributed in an all-digital format as part of our Green Initiative
(Registration required.)
We will plant a tree for each of the first 5,000 downloads.

Collaboration Imperative Small businesses must be crafty, outmaneuvering their larger competitors in order to survive and ultimately thrive. One way to do that is to make better or faster decisions, and that takes collaboration among employees and business partners.

Yet even as IT budgets start to rise, small and midsize businesses are torn over whether to invest in collaboration projects, InformationWeek Analytics research shows. One-third of SMBs are increasing their IT spending in support of collaboration compared with last year, just over half are spending the same amount, and 15% are cutting that spending, according to our Outlook 2011 Survey of 260 business tech pros at companies with 1,000 or fewer employees.

The key for small business IT leaders is to recognize early when their collaboration or information-sharing processes are breaking down and impeding the business. A slew of emerging collaboration systems can help SMBs, but this decision's much more nuanced than building a storage or data communication network. Sure, every business has unique infrastructure needs, but for the most part, the plumbing that works for small business A will probably work for small business B, with some tweaks here and there. But when it comes to building a successful collaboration and information-sharing strategy, what works for business A may never work for business B.

There are pitfalls to implementing any new collaboration tools, just like with any tech-driven strategy. Some will resist, particularly those who fear losing control of the information flow. On the opposite end of the spectrum will be those who treat collaboration as a goal unto itself rather than focus on the business problems these new collaboration tools should solve.

The good news is that many SMBs will have more IT resources than last year as they consider whether collaboration is a priority. A bit more than half (56%) expect their IT budgets to rise compared with a year ago, and only 20% expect a cut (see chart, right). Should improving collaboration be among the priorities SMBs attack with those IT dollars? Both employee expectations and the tools for collaboration are changing fast, so IT leaders who haven't assessed this landscape lately need to pay attention.

To read the rest of the article,
Download the March 2011 issue of InformationWeek SMB

2011 Global CIO Report

Become an InformationWeek Analytics subscriber and get our Global CIO report.

This report includes action-oriented analysis and original research on topics including:
  • How more CIOs are driving innovation by making IT a part of their company's products and services
  • Exclusive research on what CIOs rank as their highest business and technology priorities
Get This And All Our Reports

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll