IT Priorities, Challenges Get Less Sexy
Voice assistants, software-defined infrastructure, digital unified workspace and open source have knocked VR/AR, IoT, and AI off the radar in the latest Techaisle research that looks at the top 10 priorities, issues and challenges for SMBs and midmarket businesses.
In the just-released 2019 research results, the priorities for these two market segments looks a lot less sexy. Last year’s results introduced several emerging technologies into the mix.
The top 10 SMB IT priorities in 2019 are: cloud, mobility, collaboration, security solutions, managed services, virtualization/converged/hyperconverged, analytics, software-defined infrastructure, digital unified workspace, and voice assistants. The top 10 priorities for the midmarket are similar but in a slightly different order: cloud, security solution, mobility solution, collaboration, virtualization/converged infrastructure/hyperconverged infrastructure, managed services, analytics/big data, voice assistants, software-defined infrastructure and digital unified workspace. Open source made it into the top 10 IT priorities for small businesses.
While IoT and AR/VR are no longer among the top 10, they remain within the top 15 priorities, says Anurag Agrawal, CEO and analyst at Techaisle. He also notes that security, as a top 10 priority, takes a number of forms, such as cloud security, mobile device security, and data protection/recovery/business continuity. However, cloud security is the top IT challenge.
In its ninth year running, the Techaisle research includes information from senior IT and business decision makers from the research firm’s network of 1.2 million B2B IT professionals spread across more than 30 countries.
Both SMB and midmarket companies report facing similar IT challenges in 2019, such as cloud security, maintaining current IT infrastructure, budget constraints, mobile device security, data protection/recovery/business continuity, regulatory compliance, and finding qualified and trained people.
SMBs, however, also report controlling costs and improving justification for continued IT investment and migrating to more modern hardware and/or software platforms as additional IT challenges. Midmarket companies face additional IT challenges such as data/application integration and implementing/accelerating cloud computing.
Techaisle also breaks down the research results for small businesses. These small businesses face similar challenges as do larger SMB and midmarket companies; however, unique to this market segment are challenges such as managing data growth and social networking.
All three segments report having a tough time finding qualified and trained people, with this challenge ranked the highest among small businesses, then SMBs, followed by midmarket companies. Regulatory compliance only pops up as a top 10 challenge among SMB and midmarket companies.
Agrawal says the research found only 11 percent of SMBs and 29 percent of midmarket firms have evidence-driven culture with data-driven decision-making business processes, in which data defines requirements or opportunities and management then determines the best option for moving forward. Furthermore, in the U.S., 17 percent of small businesses and 34 percent of midmarket firms consider themselves to be innovative.
The No. 1 business issue for both small and SMB businesses is increasing productivity. Midmarket research respondents’ top issue is reducing operational costs, while increased profitability was No. 4 on their top 10 list.
Improving workforce productivity was in the top five for business issues across all sectors. Businesses of all sizes also reported attracting and retaining new customers and attracting and retaining employees among their top 10 business issues.
Issues around government policies and regulation gained a spot in the top 10 for SMB and midmarket businesses, in line with their reporting regulatory compliance as a top 10 challenge. Government policies, regulation, and regulatory compliance weren’t on the top 10 radar in any category for small businesses.