According to Eduardo Rosini, corporate vice president, Microsoft Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group, "the bottom line is that smaller businesses are, as always, leading us out of the tough economic times because they are more flexible, more nimble, and faster to innovate."
Implied, of course, is the hope that these small and midsize businesses will spend on Microsoft software and services (a market that Microsoft invest $6.5 billion in annually), notably Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is an increasingly prominent part of Redmond's strategy. Speaking to the appeal of SaaS for SMBs Rosini says, "When you look at the cost -- when you look at the whole ecosystem with a SaaS approach -- there's less upfront cost, less incremental cost. It's a case of IT innovation taking cost out of the system." In terms of quantifying the move toward SaaS, the survey indicates that small and midsize companies will increase use of SaaS by 20% this year (an increase from 66% to 86%).
Among the other findings of the report were:
- 50% identify virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the technology most likely to reduce operating costs.
- Nearly 40% expect increased interest in business intelligence and identified it as a critical tool for helping to improve a customer's experience and increasing loyalty.
- More than 50% consider Customer Relationship Management (CRM), virtualization, or IT consolidation through a small or mid-size server as the best investment for maximizing business growth in a down economy.
- Nearly 60% expect the shift to more remote workers (more than half expect the remote workforce to grow), will lead to expanded roles and responsibilities for individuals working remotely.
Go to the complete 2009 Microsoft SMB Insight Report (MS Word doc).
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