What SMBs Look for From Their Technology Partners

 
 
By Gina Roos  |  Posted 2015-04-02 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - Job Creators
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    Job Creators

    SMBs represent 99.7% of the 6 million total U.S. employer firms, and have generated 63% of net new jobs in the past 15 years, according to the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
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    2 - Strategic Priorities
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    Strategic Priorities

    58% of SMBs said reducing costs or overhead is their top strategic priority, followed by reaching new customers (55%), improving operational efficiency (48%) and improving staff productivity/capabilities (38%).
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    3 - Size Matters
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    Size Matters

    The survey finds that reducing costs is a top priority for 63% of micro-size companies, 58% of small companies and 52% of midsize companies. Reaching new customers is a top priority for 68% of micro-size companies, 57% of small companies and 40% of midsize companies.
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    4 - Technology Drivers
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    Technology Drivers

    Only 17% of SMBs said they are where they want to be with technology, while 47% reported they are moderately close/not close to where they want to be in tech use and 36% said they are very close to where they want to be.
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    5 - Tech Issues
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    Tech Issues

    Top technology areas that SMBs said they need to work on include IT security (42%), effectively managing and using data (42%), modernizing aging equipment and software (39%), managing increasingly complex technology (30%) and understanding the available choices (29%).
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    6 - Channels for Buying Tech Vary
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    Channels for Buying Tech Vary

    Half of midsize companies buy through IT solution providers, VARs or tech consultants. In comparison, 36% of small companies and 16% of micro companies buy through the partner channel.
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    7 - Outsourcing IT
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    Outsourcing IT

    More than 70% of SMBs said they used an outside IT firm at least occasionally over the past 12 months.
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    8 - Partner Roles
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    Partner Roles

    The top reasons for working with a third-party IT firm include repair/troubleshooting (35%), installation/integration (26%), Web design/e-commerce (25%), technology procurement (23%) and cloud computing (22%).
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    9 - Drivers for Third-Party Partners
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    Drivers for Third-Party Partners

    Reasons SMBs said they used IT firms included gaining greater expertise in new areas (46%), being able to focus on their core businesses (33%), helping drive business with technology (32%) and reducing IT support costs (30%).
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    10 - Budget Challenges
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    Budget Challenges

    Two-thirds of SMBs spend less than $100,000 annually on technology, and 29% spend $10,000 or less. Yet two-thirds of SMBs plan to increase their tech budgets, with 30% projecting an increase of 10% or more in the next year.
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    11 - Dissatisfaction With Vendors
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    Dissatisfaction With Vendors

    42% of SMBs switched to new IT firms because of costs. Other reasons SMBs made a switch included previous vendors' lack of innovative solutions (29%), unreliable or poor response time (26%), not putting the client's needs first (22%), lack of expertise in industry vertical (18%), being difficult to work with (17%) and lacking cloud service offerings (16%).
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    12 - Trusted Advisors
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    Trusted Advisors

    40% of SMBs perceive the IT firms they engage with as trusted partners, but a larger percentage of SMBs (53%) view their partners "somewhat" as trusted advisors.
 

IT companies that want to work with small and midsize businesses (SMBs) should focus on their expertise and innovation skills, according to new research from CompTIA. Among the 500 companies surveyed for the "Enabling SMBs with Technology" study, close to half said they use outside IT firms when they need greater expertise and new options, and nearly one-third said they switched IT firms due to a lack of innovative technology solutions. This presents major opportunities and challenges for channel players in the SMB space. The biggest reasons for the engagements: repair/troubleshooting, installation/integration, Web design/e-commerce, technology procurement and cloud computing. The challenge for channel partners is budget—two-thirds of SMBs spend less than $100,000 annually on technology and 29 percent spend $10,000 or less. Yet nearly half would be willing to increase their budgets for innovative solutions that could enable new business processes. Channel Insider examines key takeaways from the survey that indicate SMBs need and want help in selecting and implementing new technologies to help grow their businesses and improve ROI.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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