This blog highlights key worldwide SMB technology predictions impacting small and medium businesses through 2021.
Forward-looking IT managers, business unit leaders, and senior executives in small and midsize businesses will harness a wide range of technology to support positive business outcomes in challenging times. The synthesis of near-term needs and long-term vision will be at the heart of effective company technology investment moving forward.
IDC forecasts that in 2018 worldwide SMB IT spending will top $25 billion over 2017 levels, with both traditional 2nd Platform (PC, server, and network) and 3rd Platform (social, mobile, cloud, and big data) spending continuing to grow. This has important implications for small businesses (SBs; with fewer than 100 employees) and midsize firms (with 100–999 employees) as they plan for technology investments next year. While most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) will budget for continuing spending increases (4–5% on average), the rate of increase for software and services should be greater than that for hardware. The coordination of on-premises and cloud resources should be a focus for investment, especially as firms continue to add cloud resources as anticipated, IDC's guidance for small and midsize firms is that their technology investment thinking should focus on solutions, whether on-premises or cloud, to maintain if not enhance their competitive position. The relatively fragmented and improvisational nature of SMB IT spending of the past should be replaced by the coordinated and managed approaches seen in larger firms.
While line-of-business (LOB) departments and decentralized technology acquisition will continue to characterize purchasing by smaller firms, IDC expects a growing share of SMBs to leverage technology investments in more comprehensive ways, with coordination and cooperation among different constituencies in keeping with digital transformation (DX). We strongly encourage firms to move in this direction, especially those that have not started already.
Top 10 Worldwide SMB 2018 Predictions
IDC provides its top 10 predictions for the SMB market with analysis that covers up to a three-year period. The predictions are designed to provide senior managers and IT decision makers with a call-to-action investment plan with respect to critical technologies.
- Prediction 1: In 2018, SMB IT Spending Will Increase 4.6% to $568 Billion; Software and Business Services Spending Will Show the Greatest Gains
- Prediction 2: The Integration of Cloud and On-Premises Resources Will Be an Increasingly Important Priority for Companies Across the SMB Size Spectrum, with More than One-Half Citing It as a Tech-Spending Priority by 2019
- Prediction 3: Alternative Channels Such as Online Self-Provisioning, Cloud Marketplaces, and Cloud Service Brokers Will Play an Increasing Role in the Market, with One-Half of SMBs Acquiring Resources via Such Channels by 2020
- Prediction 4: Innovation Accelerators Will Transform Production Processes in Key SMB Sectors, with One-Third of SMBs in Progressive Verticals, Such as Manufacturing and Healthcare, Using at Least One Accelerator by 2020
- Prediction 5: One-Half of SMBs in Developed Countries Will Have Basic Business Intelligence/Analytics Resources in Place by the End of 2020 to Sharpen Decision Making, with Predictive Analytics Used by Over One-Quarter
- Prediction 6: By the End of 2019, the Internet of Things Will Be Used by One-Third of SMBs in Key Industries to Collect and Evaluate Real-Time Internal and External Data to Refine Business Practices
- Prediction 7: Digital Transformation Will Be a Key Part of Company Strategy for One-Half of SMBs — 60% in Some Regions — by the End of 2019; But the Danger of Disruption Is Already Present, Especially from Start-Ups
- Prediction 8: By the End of 2020, Over 20% of SMBs in Developed Countries Will Have Implemented Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Enterprise Software or Intelligent Assistants
- Prediction 9: By the End of 2018, One-Half of SMBs Worldwide Will Have Formal or Informal Mobile-Worker Support in Place
- Prediction 10: The Share of SMBs Worldwide with Millennials in Senior Management Will Exceed 50% in 2019
To register for the on-demand web conference on these 10 predictions or to learn more about any of the IDC FutureScape Web Conferences, please visit: https://www.idc.com/events/futurescapes
You can find full context around these predictions in the newly published document, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide SMB 2018 Predictions (Document # US42182217) on idc.com .