Even though small and medium businesses (SMBs) are trying to save every penny in the current economic climate, a new survey from Spiceworks, Inc. - a developer of network and systems management software and market research company located in Austin, Texas - shows that a majority of businesses intend to purchase hardware and software within the next six months. The Q3 survey was designed to look at technology purchasing and staffing trends among SMBs all over the world. The survey took place over the months of July and August by Spiceworks' Voice of ITTM market research program. Of the 1,130, the majority were IT professionals that support companies with fewer than 500 employees and with annual technology budgets of about $108,000.
Here are some of the findings from the survey:
- SMBs are letting their desktops, laptops, and servers last them ten more months than normal before purchasing new ones
- 68% of SMBs plan to add new hardware to their networks in the next six months; this includes 56% buying desktops, 55% buying laptops, 45% buying new servers, 31% buying new printers, 27% buying new network devices, and 13% buying notebooks
- The average new order consists of 13 desktops, 10 laptops and two servers
- At 37%, new hardware makes up the largest part of SMB IT budgets
- 51% of businesses are planning to buy new software. 32% of that will go to security and anti-spam solutions software. Of those, about one third plan to buy cloud-based security and anti-spam offerings.
- 44% of SMBs are using virtualization solutions. 21% of SMBs' total server capacity is currently virtuatlized, but over the next six months, 30% plan to expand virtualization in their networks.
- 25% plan to purchase backup and recovery items within the next six months. Of those, 75% plan to store date on-site and the remaining 25% plan to utilize cloud-based storage. 42% of date will be stored on network-attached storage or storage area network devices; 38% will be stored in local and direct-attached storage; 7% will be hosted off-site; and 13% on tape or other media.
- 57% of SMBs currently use a cloud computing service. The three most popular include anti-spam, hosted email, and online back-up.
- As expected, budgets shrank in 2009. 39% cut their budgets (averaging cuts of 22%), 31 kept their budgets the same, and 30% grew their budgets (averaging growths of 27%).
- 60% of SMBs had to cancel at least one planned 2009 project due to the economy
- As far as hiring goes, 22% of SMBs plan to hire additional full and part-time staff. Only 3% plan to reduce their staff size.
In a statement, Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of Marketing for Spiceworks, said it's good to see SMBs showing signs of growth and spending, "Most are clearly ready to buy and it will be interesting to watch how these plans play out among different geographies, industries and company sizes. We will track these and other technology trends of interest in future studies."