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1Insiders View of the Mind of the Midmarket IT Executive

IT vendors have long recognized the potential value of midmarket customers, and most agree that the best way to reach these customers is through channel partners, VARs, resellers, IT consultants and solution providers.

To win those customers, you must understand how midmarket IT executives think and who they rely on for advice. To help its partners, the Midmarket Group of distributor Arrow Enteprise solutions commissioned a survey of over 200 U.S.-based midsized companies of between 1,000 and 3,000 employees. Here’s what those companies had to say.

2Reducing Costs

Midmarket IT executives rated reducing costs as the number 1 most important business issue, followed by improving customer service. That’s a sea change from last year when executives rated the top priority as information security, only then followed by reducing costs.

3Top Technology Issue

Nine out of 10 midmarket IT exectives ranked better access to information sharing and meeting service-level objectives as the key technology issues in management during tough economic times.

4Top Technology Initiatives

Six out of 10 midmarket IT executives say data management and security are the top IT initiatives. These executives put the highest priority on information security, business intelligence and compliance.

5Return on Investment

Nearly 40 percent of midmarket IT executives said they required ROI information before they would even consider purchasing any technology. But the average required return on investment is just 33 percent over the initial cost of the technology within 3 to 5 years of purchase. Only 12 percent of respondents said they required 100 percent ROI within 12 months of implementation.

6IT Budgets

Three in 10 IT executives expected their IT budgets to decline this year, and 3 in 10 expected their IT budgets to increase this year. Four in 10 executives expected their IT budgets to stay the same. While that’s a less happy picture than last year when 6 in 10 expected an increase and 1 in 10 expected a decrease, it also reveals that there are midmarket companies out there that are still spending money which means opportunity for solution providers.

7Giving Credit where Credit is Due

Not surprisingly, given the credit crunch, 40 percent of Midmarket IT executives ranked getting access to capital as their third biggest business concern in 2009, compared to just 33 percent in 2008. This could mark an opportunity for solution providers who can help end-user companies obtain the credit they need to make crucial IT purchases.

8Top Technology Initiatives for 2009

Midmarket IT Executives ranked their top technology initiatives for this year in the following order:

Data management 61 percentSecurity 59 percentStorage 51 percentCollaboration 36 percentServer virtualization 34 percentDesktop virtualization 25 percent

9Best of Breed vs. Name-Brand

More than half – 55 percent – of midmarket IT executives said they preferred a "best-in-breed" approach to solutions over the 33 percent that said they preferred "name-brand solutions from top manufacturers."

10Who Do They Ask for Advice?

Midmarket IT executives are no longer counting on their local reseller for advice. Only nine percent said they turned to the local reseller compared with 16 percent in 2008. Executives are more likely to turn to large consultancies such as Accenture or EDS (31 percent in 2009 vs. 15 percent in 2008), their own internal resources (61 percent in 2009 vs. 59 percent in 2008), and industry analysts (36 percent in 2009 vs. 39 percent in 2008).

They are also less likely to turn to local IT consulting firms (23 percent in 2009 vs. 29 percent in 2008) and magazines and journals (18 percent in 2009 vs. 30 percent in 2008) and Internet research (38 percent in 2009 vs. 40 percent in 2008)