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1Top 10 SMB Technology Predictions for 2011

1. Mobile Commerce Lifts OffSMB Group predicts that small businesses will execute on plans for mobile web sites, payments, product and service tracking, document sharing and sales, support and service in 2011.

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2. SMBs Demand that Vendors Bring Order to Social Media ChaosSmall business owners are not consumers, so why should they depend on consumer tools for Social Media. Analysts believe that SMBs will ask vendors to help them streamline interactions across channels.

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3. App Stores Become a Key Information Source and Channel for SMBsApps marketplaces such as Intuit’s Workplace,, Constant Contact Marketplace, Zoho Marketplace, and Google Apps marketplace are going to increase in importance as an information source and channel for SMBs next year.

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4. The Shift to Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Becomes IrreversibleNo matter how much the channel tries to fight it, switch to the cloud and SaaS is on and things are never going back to the way they used to be. SMB Group says this irreversible trend is going to make itself more apparent in 2011.

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5. A New Cloud Channel Model FormsHowever, that’s not all bad for the channel. SMB Group predicts that in 2011 a new channel model will firm up that will incorporate more collaboration and joint goal-setting between cloud vendors and partners. Analysts say to watch out for vendors such as Intacct and Acumatica to set the pace.

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6. The Transition to the Insight Economy Gets a Bit EasierWith big business intelligence vendors such as IBM/Cognos and SAP Business Objects offering more modular solutions and SaaS vendors offering SMB-specific solutions, 2011 will continue to make it easier for SMBs to sift through their intelligence data.

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7. Tablets Add Fuel to the Mobile Applications ExplosionSMB Group recently found that 10 percent of small businesses and 22 percent of medium businesses already have at least some employees using tablets on the job. 2011 will see those numbers grow and continue the mobile apps boom.

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8. Better, Faster Integration Becomes a Key Business Solution DifferentiatorSMB Group points to IBM’s acquisition of Cast Iron and Dell’s pick-up of Boomi this year as good indicators that the market is recognizing that SMBs can’t spend as much on the integration as it does on the solution itself.

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9. Hybrid Computing Requirements Accelerate Virtualization AdoptionSMB Group says that "vendors will need to continue to invest to educate SMBs about the cost savings, management, and provisioning benefits to further SMB understanding and adoption" of new virtualization models.

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10. Continued Convergence of Unified Communication and Collaboration Suites2011 will be the year that firms kink out the integrations from recent years’ acquisitions (Cisco and Tandberg, anyone?) and truly offer SMB-friendly UCC Suites.