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IT's Evolving Role in SMBs

What does the role of IT within small- and mid-sized businesses entail? Find out what decision makers had to say in a recent survey.

May 16, 2011
Related Topics: Strategy and Management

San Francisco — May 16

A recent survey of more than 500 decision makers shows that the IT role within small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) is evolving to include business development and day-to-day operations responsibilities.

The survey, conducted by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls, provides a glimpse of how IT is managed among SMBs and offers a snapshot of cloud computing awareness and adoption.

According to the survey, of the 78 percent indicating they have in-house support, 79 percent said the role of IT is involved in other areas of the business – including operations, business development and sales. Of the 22 percent outsourcing support to vendors, 52 percent cited cost as the primary reason.

“More often than not, the IT role within a small- or mid-sized business may be fulfilled by the most technology savvy employee, requiring them to juggle multiple responsibilities on top of keeping the company’s technology up and running,” said Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang. “With limited resources, businesses are looking to every employee to contribute, and as a result, the IT role is gradually shifting from one of support to one of support and revenue generation.”

Following a traditional path of conservative investment in technology, SMBs have been slow to adopt new technologies, such as cloud computing. The survey found that only 10 percent of SMBs have deployed cloud technologies and 72 percent of respondents don’t understand or are not familiar with the technology.

“These numbers are quite staggering given that cloud vendors are investing huge amounts of money in marketing to showcase the benefits of cloud computing,” Terry said. “This research points to the need for cloud vendors to instead educate business owners on what cloud computing means and how it is relevant to SMBs.”

Of the businesses without cloud computing technologies, only 2 percent plan to deploy cloud-based solutions this year, with an additional 20 percent still weighing the cost and benefits of various solutions.

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