Study Finds Convergence Potential Among SMBs
BackBy Daniel Margolis, Associate Editor —
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has released its fifth-annual Convergent Technologies Research study, subtitled “Discovering Trends and Opportunities in the U.S. and Canada SMB Markets.”
In generating the study, CompTIA worked with AMI-Partners, a research firm that specializes in the small-to-midsized-business (SMB) IT market. For the purposes of this study, small businesses are considered those with 20 to 99 employees, and midsized businesses are considered those with 100 to 499 employees.
The study found the majority of SMBs are neither early adopters nor significantly behind.
“By and large, small and medium businesses tend to be ‘value adopters’ of new IT and communication solutions,” said John Venator, CompTIA president and chief executive officer. “They prefer to wait until the technology is proven in the market and can deliver a justifiable return on investment before they make investments in new technology.”
Of the 518 North American SMBs surveyed for the report (382 in the United States, 136 in Canada), more than 80 percent said they are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their IT and communications systems in terms of boosting their efficiency in managing day-to-day affairs — the incentive for these SMBs to move on to new solutions might not be present.
Fifty-eight percent of the SMBs, however, described themselves as “value adopters” that would consider deploying the latest convergence technologies if they allow for more effective means of internal and external communication. Nearly one-third of SMBs indicated being early adopters of such technology.
“It appears that the cycle is shortening when it comes to new technology adoption by SMBs,” Venator said.
More than half of SMBs in the United States and Canada that are planning to adopt some type of converged solutions indicate the need for a small network upgrade to support such solutions, a statistic that might indicate a bit of a challenge for converged solutions. Venator, though, said this is surmountable.
“While there are hurdles to overcome, there also are several reasons to be optimistic about SMB interest in convergence solutions, based on the results of this survey,” Venator said. “For example, fewer than 20 percent of SMBs reported having a converged voice and data system, but nearly two-thirds of SMBs plan to adopt some type of converged solution in the next three years.”
More than 75 percent of both U.S. and Canadian SMBs have not had any major network attack or security breach in the last 12 months, but those that suffered a security attack experienced a significant-to-moderate impact on downtime because of delays. Typically, these attacks happen every month or bimonthly in the United States and three to six times a year in Canada.
“SMBs that are vulnerable to attacks face significant security risks,” Venator said. “The impact of such attacks is considered significant or catastrophic. These businesses may not have sufficient resources to understand or implement best practices. That’s the role that the technology solution provider can fill, both through the use of new technology and in educating the customer on actions that can be taken to protect their businesses.”