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budgets have seen the largest increase in two years as small to midsize
businesses continue to add IT staff, and nearly one in three SMBs, or 31
percent, plan to hire IT staff—which is consistent with data reported for the
first half of 2011, found a survey from social business networking specialist
Spiceworks. Overall IT budgets in the second half of 2011 grew 9 percent
compared with IT budgets for the first half of 2011—the largest increase in two
years. The average annual IT budget for SMBs now stands at $143,000, up from
the $132,000 previously reported for the first half of 2011.

company’s State of SMB IT survey, which included 1,295 respondents from 95
countries, also found adoption of cloud services continues to rise rapidly
among SMBs, while virtualization is still their top IT initiative. Cloud
services are now used by 46 percent of SMBs, a significant rise over the 28
percent that reported using cloud services in the first half of 2011 and the 14
percent that reported doing so midyear 2010.

addition, the survey revealed virtualization continues to dominate the SMB
market. Currently, 61 percent of SMBs use virtualization, which is up from the
54 percent that reported using virtualization during the first half of 2011.
Tablets are becoming more popular among SMBs, according to the survey. Fifty
percent of SMBs have deployed or plan to deploy tablet devices, such as iPads,
within the next six months.

market fluctuations, 2011 proved to be a great year for disruptive technologies
as SMBs increasingly adopted tablet computers, cloud services and
virtualization technology,” said Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of
marketing for Spiceworks. “The results of our most recent survey show SMBs
making similar strategic technology investments with expanded budgets—pointing
to a stronger market for IT products and services among small and mid-sized
businesses in 2012.”

recent Deloitte survey also revealed that technology investments are playing an
increasingly larger role in midmarket companies’ bottom line. Business process
automation and technology improvements are the two top contributing factors to
the jump in midmarket productivity; new hiring ranked fifth overall. Midmarket
executives also said they believe the technology driving increased productivity
includes business process automation (52 percent), data analytics and business
intelligence (49 percent), and customer relationship management software (30