How is technology keeping pace with European SMBs’ needs?

IMMAn International Data Corporation (IDC) survey-based study reveals a significant shift in IT sourcing channels among European Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). While basic hardware needs still take up a large share of the IT budget, new technologies — particularly those that IDC refers to as the 3rd Platform (social media, Big Data, mobile, and cloud) — have started to impact on SMBs.

“This transition is changing SMBs’ needs toward more complex solutions which require more support and value-added services from channel partners, and triggers a shift in IT sourcing toward system integrators, high-end VARs, and public cloud service providers,” said Serena Da Rold, program manager, IDC European Industry Solutions. “This trend is particularly evident among high-end midsize organizations”, added Da Rold.

The study examines the global small and medium-sized business (SMB) market for advanced technology products and services. Total IT spending is presented for 2013–2017, along with the baseline year of 2012. Detail on spending totals is provided for hardware, software, and services technology areas: PCs and peripherals, systems and storage, telecom equipment, software, and IT services.

“Worldwide SMB IT spending continues to grow beyond the half-trillion-dollar threshold at roughly twice the rate of GDP as companies step up technology investment to stay competitive,” says Raymond Boggs, vice president of SMB Research at IDC. While business expansion, especially in developed regions, will not always be associated with new hiring, increasing investment in technology will allow firms to grow revenue without necessarily growing head count.

“Technology spending will continue to vary by company size, geography, and IT category, with both software and hardware spending (especially for tablets and smartphones) showing the greatest growth”, said the VP of SMB Research unit.

According to Boggs, SMB IT spending will exceed $700 billion in 2017.

IDC findings:

  • Channels are vital for IT vendors when targeting SMBs, and both vendors and channel partners need to understand how SMBs select their IT sources in order to target them more effectively.
  • The top 2 IT supplier selection criteria remain customer service and support and a low price across all sizes, but the importance of a low total cost of ownership has climbed to third position among SMBs.
  • The level of satisfaction with the primary IT supplier overall is reasonably high, but the three most valued areas are still those where satisfaction could be improved the most.
  • Small companies tend to have lower expectations, but also lower satisfaction levels, while midsize companies are progressively more demanding but also more satisfied with their vendors’ performance.

The study, Channel Selection and Vendor Satisfaction Among European SMBs: An IDC Survey, 2013, reviews end users’ channel selection, IT supplier selection criteria, and satisfaction with IT vendors, leveraging results of the IDC European Vertical Markets Survey 2012, conducted among 1,603 organizations (791 SMB respondents with 20–499 employees).

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