SMBs have been increasing their IT budgets over the past 2 years. SMBs increase their staffing, invest in virtualization technologies and spend on cloud services to store and save data.
Over the past 2 years, there has been a significant rise of small businesses’ IT budgets. Spiceworks led a study among 1295 small and medium business IT professionals, and asked them about their investment plans for IT, and how they currently spend their IT budget. According to the study, the average planned IT budget among SMBs has grown from $108.000 in the first half of 2009 to $143.000 in the second half of 2011. In 2011 only, the planned IT budget increased by 9% from the first to the second half of the year. IT departments are growing as well – 31% of companies planned to hire IT staff in 2011 compared to 20% in 2010. The study stresses two major trends in budget allocations: virtualization technologies seem to be a top priority among SMBs, and tablets are becoming a legitimate tool to SMB IT.
SMBs heavily invest in virtualization technologies
The adoption of virtualization technologies is rising at a fast pace. In the second half of 2011, 61% of respondents said they were virtualizing some of their servers, compared to 54% in the first half – an increase of 7% over the year. 48% of SMBs currently virtualize core applications (web servers, databases…), and 19% plan to do so in the next 6 months. 46% of respondents indicated they also virtualize common infrastructure (46%), directories (42%) and email/messaging (37%). On a similar note, the adoption of cloud services is drastically rising and almost 50% of SMBs now use cloud services.
Backup and storage are top priorities
The level of adoption of cloud services nearly doubles every 6 months. In the second half of 2010, 14% were using cloud computing, 28% in the first half of 2011 and 46% in the second half of 2011. For the moment, most SMBs use cloud computing for web hosting (48%) and email hosting (30%), but when asked what kind of services they plan to invest in over the next 6 months, 16% mention data backup and recovery. Data storage and recovery are a major concern among SMBs. While this increased dependency on virtualization and cloud technologies certainly boosts growth among IT vendors and service providers, it also poses new challenges to SMBs.