A Great Time To Be Back On The SMB Beat - InformationWeek

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2/15/2010
09:15 AM
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A Great Time To Be Back On The SMB Beat

Today marks my return to the exciting, dynamic world of small and midsize businesses IT. It's good to be back. Moreover, it's a good time to be back on this beat. With signs of economic recovery flickering on the horizon, SMBs are poised to compete on a playing field that technology continues to level.

Today marks my return to the exciting, dynamic world of small and midsize businesses IT. It's good to be back. Moreover, it's a good time to be back on this beat. With signs of economic recovery flickering on the horizon, SMBs are poised to compete on a playing field that technology continues to level.Longtime readers of IWK-SMB (and its predecessor) may recall my byline from my previous stint as editor. I look forward to reconnecting with loyal readers and industry leaders familiar to me from before and getting acquainted with new ones as well. Technology is always among the most dynamic industries; with success so closely correlated to innovation how could it be any other way. That's makes it an exciting industry to cover in general, but what draws me back to the SMB market in particular is the clear correlation between relentless technological innovation and business success.

Right now ranks as a pivotal phase in the progression of technology for small and midsize businesses. Never before has so much technological firepower been so accessible to SMBs. Here's how my former colleague and predecessor Fred Paul distilled it in a manifesto:

"Not so long ago, the best business technology was found only in the workplace. The most powerful computers. The fastest Internet connections. The most advanced software. The most innovative mobile devices. And because every company was basically on their own, it all required big piles of money to acquire and lots of highly trained people to manage and maintain. If you wanted -- or needed -- mainframe power, well, you had to have a mainframe.

Consumers, meanwhile, had to get by with dial-up Internet connections and poky computers running outmoded software on last-generation chips.

And growing businesses were stuck in the middle. On the one hand, they couldn't afford cutting-edge corporate technology found in the enterprise, and often ended up paying a relative premium for scaled-down - often dumbed-down -- versions adapted for the "SMB market." They had no choice, though, because consumer technologies were painfully inadequate for even simple business tasks. Small and midsize companies found themselves at a continual disadvantage compared to their enterprise competitors.

But now, the times they are a-changing. In the last few years, the shifting tides of technological innovation have completely reversed that situation. The convergence of several key trends hands the advantages not to the large, but to the swift, the mobile, the nimble, the flexible, and the innovative."

Though Fred penned that manifesto prior to the Wall Street Meltdown, if anything, the great recession has put more emphasis on speed and flexibility - over the past 18 months, nimble shifted from strategy buzzword to survival tactic. Now that there are signs of recovery, scant though they may be, the time is ripe of SMBs to capitalize on the advantage that technology offers to boost sales, enhance efficiency, and seize market share from competitors.

At InformationWeek SMB, our mission is the help growing companies understand and exploit that advantage. I hope you'll join us.

Follow me on Twitter @http://twitter.com/benjamintomkins Follow InformationWeek SMB Twitter @http://twitter.com/infoweeksmb Get InformationWeek SMB on your mobile device @http://mobile.bmighty.com

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