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Apple iPad Not on SMB Wish Lists, But CRM is?

April 15, 2010

A recent Spiceworks survey found that while companies want to upgrade their software and move to the cloud, they also want to "reduce their dependence on hosted services," and are "ignoring devices such as netbooks and Apple's iPad," according to industry observer Nathan Eddy.

So, the majority want to move to the cloud, but reduce their intake of hosted services. Okay… um, that'll work, sure.

'The technology spending slowdown among small and medium businesses seems to be over,' said Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Spiceworks. 'In the first half of 2010, bright spots are clearly seen in core technology areas, such as new hardware and software purchases."

And as industry observer David Roe says, "while there has been anecdotal evidence that SMBs are beginning to spend on IT again, this week a number of reports show that it's actually happening, although not in the areas you might expect. CRM is a big winner, with British SMBs taking to hosted CRMs rather than on-premise options."

Eddy reported the vast majority of companies overall IT budgets and spending rise in the first half of 2010, according to the survey, "State of SMB IT April 2010." The average annual technology budget of survey respondents was $117,200, with 43 percent of SMBs reporting budget increases:

"Nearly half (47 percent) of 2010 IT budgets is allocated to new hardware purchases, 34 percent to new software, and 19 percent to IT services." Other upgrade priorities include virtualization, antivirus/anti-spam, backup and recovery, and Windows 7 upgrades. 

Strangely enough, as Eddy says, netbooks, as well as tablet computers such as the iPad, are still not popular among SMBs, the survey found, "representing less than three percent of planned new mobile computer sales over the next six months." This while "80 percent of SMBs plan new desktop, laptop and server purchases in the first six months of 2010 in order to refresh hardware that is on average 48 months old."

Come on, people, if you can't justify buying an iPad on the company IT expense account you're not trying very hard.

As Eddy notes "companies are moving some hosted services in-house, with hosted services purchase plans down 15 percent in the first six months of 2010, compared with the last six months of 2010." And surprisingly enough "22 percent of SMB IT pros plan to purchase, upgrade or renew CRM applications." CRM's generally low on the priority list for SMBs, it's still seen more as a toy for the big boys.

That this many SMBs are planning to sink real money into CRM shows the improvement in products pitched at this market. 

David Sims is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for ContactCenterSolutions here.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri