Listen to the Voice of IT – Spiceworks’ New IT Market Research Program

logo_the_voice_of_itThis morning Spiceworks released the results of our first comprehensive survey of our users (IT pros in SMBs with typically fewer than 500 employees each).   It’s the State of SMB IT 08.2009 and it summarizes where SMB IT is going.  We conducted the survey in late July and early August so the results are ‘fresh’ unlike most surveys that typically lag by a few months.  The 1,130 survey respondents came from 56 countries so it’s a very comprehensive look at IT plans in small- and medium-businesses around the world.

The findings are highlighted in our State of SMB IT press release or you can request the full 18-page State of SMB IT 08.2009 report.

Here are some highlights from the State of SMB IT 08.2009:

  • So that’s where the sales went! SMBs are squeezing almost an extra year out of their hardware.  Previously SMBs tried to get 40 months out of their hardware.  In 2009 they’ve upped the expected lifespan by 26% to 50 months.  That’s a far cry from the 2 to 3 year replenishment cycles that users … and vendors got used to in the past (I remember counting down my days to my 2 year ‘corporate gift’ back in the 90’s).  That no doubt hit Dell, HP, Microsoft, Intel and many others as buyers sat on the sideline.
  • I’ll take 13 desktops, 10 laptops and 2 servers please. Despite using hardware for a longer period of time, 68 percent of SMBs plan to add new hardware to their networks within the next months.  56% plan to buy desktops, 55 percent plan to purchase laptops, 45 percent plan new server purchases.  The average shopping list?  13 desktops, 10 laptops and 2 servers.  Dell’s CFO, Brian Gladden, recently said “We believe that the refresh in technology (by corporate customers) will be a 2010 story.”  That appears to be the case but people are readying their shopping lists now.
  • Like, netbooks aren’t all the rage in SMBs? While netbooks may be the answer for heavy travelers, students and bloggers they haven’t gone mainstream in SMBs yet with only 13 percent planning netbook purchases.  A lot of folks are confused by this.  How can they be so popular at the “fill-in-the-blank Conference” in San Francisco last week or on my JetBlue SFO-JFK flight but ‘only’ 13% of SMBs plan a purchase in the next 6 months.  Simply go visit a 50 person accounting firm in Midland, Texas or a manufacturer in Ohio and you’ll see that not every business is on the cutting edge.
  • IT Forecast: Party Sunny or Partly Cloudy? For key services like backup & recovery and security & anti-spam 25 percent to 35 percent respectively plan to get their services from “the cloud”.  This is another one of those that might not ‘jibe with the hype.’  A lot of folks expect, or assume, it to be higher.  That said, I can’t tell yet whether it is high or low.  I think the interesting to watch will be does this go up or down 4-5 months from now when we publish our next survey.  The rate of change should tell us a lot.
  • We’ve hit bottom with IT budgets and hiring. OK, I’m not an economist and I probably shouldn’t make declarations like that.  However, after a brutal year in which 60 percent of SMBs delayed or cancelled at least one IT project and 39 percent cut their budgets 22 percent on average (and another 31 percent got by with flat budgets), IT pros are bullish on spending going forward.  Small and medium business IT budgets took a beating in 2009.   Significantly, only 3 percent plan further staff cuts while 22 percent plan additional full-time or part-time hires.  In Forrester’s recent IT report drawing from Feb-May data they said 30% planned cuts.  Clearly, most of the cutting (90%) has been done.

The Voice of IT: 30,000 Spiceworks SMB IT Pros Waiting to be Heard

What made this survey possible were 1,130 awesome Spiceworks users who had opted in to our Voice of IT market research program.  (If you are a Spiceworks IT pro and you haven’t joined, you can join here.)  This is something we launched just a few months ago and already we have over

The Voice of IT: Spiceworks' SMB IT Pros Give Tech Brands Their Opinions

The Voice of IT: Spiceworks' SMB IT Pros Give Tech Brands Their Opinions

30,000 volunteers!  This is an unprecedented IT market research panel just waiting to be heard by the world’s technology companies, large and small.  To date we’ve already completed several surveys for major tech brands.  What really sets this program apart is speed, reach, and action.  We can run a survey within a couple of days to a week or two, we can run it in various demos, and we can tie the findings back to action plans that are executed in the Spiceworks application & community (via ads, community discussions, plugins, etc.)  It’s a “closed loop” for CMOs, agencies, and marketers.

What’s Next?

We’ll continue to run these surveys every six months, possibly every three.  In addition, we’ll publish more specific results on particular categories and companies.  It’s also likely that we’ll analyze the State of IT results in a lot more detail as we could slice-and-dice it by the respondent’s industry, country and company size.  The best way to stay on top of this will be with our VoiceOfIT twitter account (@VoiceOfIT) or you can request to join our email list at marketresearch (at) spiceworks (dot) com.

What would you like to know about IT in the world’s small- and medium-sized businesses?

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