Small firms' IT spending 'due to rebound'
Computer staff, software and purchases that directly benefit their bottom line will top the IT spending agenda of small and medium-sized enterprises, both in the UK and further afield.
Announcing the results of its second annual study on global SMEs, Microsoft said a "rebound" in IT spending by the sector would be led by a desire to cut operating costs, boost productivity and strengthen the customer base.
These IT investments, designed to protect or improve the bottom line, support the software giant's headline finding that while SMEs remain concerned about the business climate, most are set to increase their IT spending in 2010.
Nearly two-thirds of smaller businesses plan to scale up IT budgets this year, compared with just one in four who said the same in 2009, shows the study of 500 firms in the US, Brazil, India, Canada and the UK.
Their most important IT investments will be in virtualisation, IT consolidation, software as a service, customer relationship management, and infrastructure support for their remote workforce.
According to the study, this flexible workforce is set to grow, as seven out of ten of Microsoft tech support partners expect clients to end this year with a greater number of remote workers.
This growth is expected to drive demand for mobile solutions, and helps explain why the number of smaller companies set to invest in cloud technology is expected to rise by almost a fifth.
The Microsoft division behind the study reflected: "The most competitive smaller businesses are investing in IT that will not only help protect and strengthen their business, but prepare them for success when economic conditions improve
"Technology can buoy smaller businesses through turbulent times — and which technologies [they] choose can help determine the speed of their return to financial stability."