Small businesses embrace technology: 62% of owners say IT is key to growth – WRAL TechWire
Editor’s note: Carolyn April is Senior Director, Industry Analysis at CompTIA , a non-profit trade association, issuing professional certifications for the information technology industry.
How’s this for a fun fact? More than 99% associated with all businesses in the United States are “small” by definition, employing fewer than 500 workers, according to the U. S. Small Business Administration. That adds up to a whopping 32. 5 million businesses that employ 48% of the particular country’s workforce as of 2021.
Just sit with those numbers with regard to a moment. Unless you work for the likes of an IBM or Microsoft, a Ford or Procter & Gamble, the odds are that you spend your professional hours each week at a small- to medium-sized business. These companies may garner far less attention than the corporate behemoths but, in fact , they constitute the backbone of the particular U. H economy.
And they have been evolving. Over the decades, small businesses from the family-run pizza shop with 10 employees to the 400-person strong sheet-metal manufacturing plant have upped their game in terms of efficiency, innovation, and sheer sales footprint. How have they done that will? Short answer: technology. Whether that’s e-commerce platforms, point-of-sale solutions, robotics, or SaaS-based business applications, the democratization and ubiquity of IT has arguably had greatest impact on the SMB universe. No longer the nice to have, technology is a competitive must for even the smallest of the small.
And many of these firms know it. Consider the following: 62% of respondents in CompTIA’s latest research, SMB Technology Buying Trends , state the use of technologies today is really a primary factor in reaching their strategic business goals. Thirty-one percent deem tech a secondary factor in those critical efforts, with only 5% calling it a non-factor. This is coming off another unprecedented plus difficult year of pandemic fallout and restrictions, which hurt smaller businesses particularly hard. (Note: CompTIA’s sample for this study defined SMB companies as those with fewer compared to 250 employees)
SMBs that have been playing mainly defense for the last two-plus years are starting in order to dust off their offensive playbook again. The past couple years of the particular pandemic have had SMBs mostly on their heels, doing their best to stay in company, avoid laying off staff, and holding onto customers. But now, business goals that were top of mind in 2021, for example , such as renewing or holding onto existing clients and defending against competition are taking a backseat to activities such as hiring skilled workers and implementing new ideas.
What’s notable is that this return to a strategic mindset identifies technology as the enabler plus fuel to meet all those goals. Last year, technology initiatives primarily focused on infrastructure, which was largely driven by the particular remote work migration many firms experienced overnight. Device purchases this kind of as laptops, printers, and phones regarding staff became paramount, as well as collaboration, video, and communications/telecom solutions in order to better enable virtual function environments. This year, when asked where they would prefer to allocate tech spending, respondents shifted from infrastructure buying categories to investments in innovation and human resources. For example , 28% associated with SMBs want to spend on technology that boosts development, compared with 19% in 2021. And on the human side of the particular equation, individuals saying these people want to hire additional tech personnel and invest more within training plus certifications this particular year is up significantly over 2021. Taken together, these aims signal the coming out of the bunker trajectory for SMBs looking in order to shake off the particular effects of the outbreak.
In general, these types of more aggressive business objectives seem to map with more positive attitudes about the current state of their business. Three in ten SMBs agreed that their own company was thriving this far in 2022 by increasing revenue and profitability. That compares with 22% that said so last year. The bulk of firms describe their firm’s health as holding steady in conditions of income and profit levels, which is similar to last year (51% in 2022, 48% within 2021). The number that will report struggling this 12 months, a net 19%, is down through 29% that said so in 2021.
Sounds like good news, right? It is, but also somewhat curious given the global economy gloom and doom issues associated with the summer of 2022. SMBs in the study do cite macroeconomic concerns as ongoing threats that worry them – continued inflation, potential recession, supply chain woes, etc. – yet appear to have got adopted a more optimistic attitude nonetheless, perhaps due to the pandemic receding in terms of its day-to-day effect on running their particular shops.
That will optimism extends to their opinions on their companies’ present tech budgets. About half believe spending levels are just regarding right, while a surprising 22% think it’s too high. A quarter don’t believe current tech spending is enough. The reality is that will many from the strategic targets these firms are aiming for will require a higher level of investment in technologies than some SMBs realize. Why wouldn’t they understand? The main reason is likely the truth that the smallest segment of SMBs often operate without a dedicated THIS team upon staff, which means many associated with the costs beyond the technology’s initial price tag can be overlooked. Those expenses include training for employees on new technologies, integration work that will be needed in order to tie brand new systems or applications into the broader IT environment, and/or steps needed to ensure cybersecurity needs are usually met.
The particular gap between spending reality and real spending need is a perennial issue intended for SMBs who are constantly managing resource allocation. But if the strategic mindset about business goals and the role technologies plays in attaining them continues apace as it is right now, business owners will hopefully understand that committing to further opportunities will be key to get success and help buttress them against another unexpected body blow such while the pandemic.
Note: This blog was originally published in: https://connect.comptia.org/blog/tech-buying-trends-smbs-pinpoint-technology-in-return-to-strategy