Report: IT Good For SMBs - InformationWeek
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2/3/2010
05:35 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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Report: IT Good For SMBs

Microsoft has released a survey on how well SMBs have done over the past two years of a difficult economy, and how that correlates with their commitment to IT. Short answer: the more committed they are, the better they did.

Microsoft has released a survey on how well SMBs have done over the past two years of a difficult economy, and how that correlates with their commitment to IT. Short answer: the more committed they are, the better they did.The data comes from Microsoft's "SMB IT and Hosted IT Index 2010". The survey was conducted by market researchers Vanson Bourne and polled more than 3,000 small and midsize businesses worldwide about their revenues and their technology usage. The basic economic news is good: 52 percent of SMBs reported their revenue had increased in the past year, up from 39 percent in 2008.

But as the chart below shows, IT played a role in how well they did. Nearly 15 percent of those for whom IT is "critical to our business; we cannot work without it" reported revenue increases of more than 30 percent, almost twice as many as those who said IT "complements our business but is by no means essential." At the other end of the spectrum, just under 40 percent of those for whom IT is critical reported that revenue stayed the same or decreased, while more than 70 percent of those who view IT as merely complementary reported the same disappointing news.

MS SMB research

The survey also asked about hosted services and cloud computing. More SMBs are aware of the options: 90 percent said they either used hosted software or have considered it, more than twice as many as in 2008. And 40 percent of the businesses that used hosted or cloud technology saw their revenue rise more than 30 percent, while 90 percent of those not taking advantage of a hosted option saw their revenues decrease. "Over the last five years, we have seen nearly 40 percent growth in usage of hosted services," said Michael Korbacher, Microsoft's director of EMEA Software plus Services.

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The respondents were asked about their use of nine technologies -- e-commerce, server, website, Web conferencing, CRM, backup, file sharing and collaboration, and e-mail -- and whether they deployed it on site or used a hosted option. Of those technologies, the one most frequently deployed in-house was backup, with 71 percent keeping it on site, followed by e-mail at 67 percent. As for the hosted option, the most popular technologies to deploy as a service were websites and Web conferencing, both at 39 percent, while the least popular was backup.

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