Even Firms Without Formal IT Management Buy IT

Unmanaged SBs Globally Spent Almost $50 Billion on IT Solutions Last Year, Says AMI

LIGHTNING RELEASES (8/27/2014) – New York, NY—August 27, 2014—There are about 33 million small businesses (SBs, firms with 1-99 employees) across twelve leading countries (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, U.K., Russia, China, India, Australia, Korea, Brazil and Mexico), of which over seven million are considered “unmanaged,” meaning no one is actively managing these firms’ IT needs. Although these firms are responsible for only about 10% of IT-related spending, that still totaled almost $50 billion last year alone. Unmanaged small businesses are still significant consumers of IT products and services; they just need the right marketing touch to reach them. These are some of the key highlights of AMI’s recently published Managed vs. Unmanaged Small Businesses: Market Assessment and Overview reports.

Small businesses manage their IT infrastructure in a variety of ways depending on the size and type of firm, as well as the utility and complexity of their systems. These reports look at how SBs purchase and maintain the IT used to run their businesses and the implications for IT vendors, service providers and marketers. AMI divides small businesses into four segments: Formally Managed firms with at least one full-time, dedicated IT professional on staff; Partner Managed firms who rely on external IT consultants; Informally Managed firms with either part-time IT staff, or non-technical, full time company employees who manage IT on a part-time basis in addition to their main job responsibilities; and Unmanaged firms where no one is actively managing IT at all. 

Unmanaged firms represent an untapped target audience for IT marketers as they are typically ignored in favor of the more technologically advanced Formally Managed and Partner Managed firms. Unmanaged SBs are concerned with several key issues related to basic infrastructure, such as improving their networking capabilities, and managing and securing their company’s data assets. Another prime area of focus for these firms is improving their customer experience via technology—e.g., using CRM (customer relationship management) solutions to manage customer relationships, retention and sales, including managing sales leads, buying history, customer service, production, etc.

Unlike the Formally Managed SBs, with their influential IT pros, it is the owner/managers within Unmanaged firms who are the key IT decision makers. While Unmanaged SBs are influenced by price, they feel most strongly that IT purchases must fit their business strategy. “These less sophisticated firms are not unwilling to spend on IT, they just don’t know what to buy or how to integrate new solutions with their existing infrastructure,” stated Eileen Zimbler, Vice President at AMI New York. “Successful marketing strategies targeting these small business owners need to include persuasive usage scenarios to demonstrate IT solutions’ value add, as well as ease of use,” Zimbler continued.

Key potential areas for investment, in addition to basic infrastructure, include IT management-aiding solutions such as cloud services. Almost one in five Unmanaged SBs report they are planning to increase their IT budget allocations for cloud applications and hosted infrastructure. Sixteen percent of Unmanaged SBs are already using some form of hosted solutions, with another 20% planning to invest in the coming year. Six out of ten Unmanaged firms report interest in remotely managed IT services as well.

Related Research

AMI’s recently launched Managed vs. Unmanaged Small Businesses: Market Assessment and Overview practice focuses on twelve leading countries (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, U.K., Russia, China, India, Australia, Korea, Brazil and Mexico) and utilizes AMI’s country-based primary market research. It also leverages AMI’s Global Market Sizing Model to provide each segment’s share of the SB universe, as well as the proportion of total IT spending accounted for by each group. 

These regionally based reports also delve more deeply into the SB markets of North America, Western Europe, Emerging APAC, Mature APAC and Latin America, focusing specifically on two segments: Formally Managed and Unmanaged. This drill down includes further comparative analysis of firmographics, buying behaviors, technology penetration and usage, cloud services adoption and interest, and channels.

For more information about these studies, AMI-Partners, or our global SMB research, call 212 944 5100, e-mail ask_ami@ami-partners.com or visit our web site at www.ami-partners.com.

About Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

AMI-Partners specializes in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital, and actionable market intelligence—with a strong focus on global small and medium business (SMB) enterprises, extending into large enterprises and home-based businesses. The AMI-Partners mission is to empower clients for success with the highest quality data, business strategy perspectives and go-to-market solutions. Led by Andy Bose, the firm has built a world-class management team with deep experience cutting across IT, telecommunications and business services sectors in established and emerging markets.

AMI-Partners has helped shape the go-to-market SMB strategies of more than 150 leading IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services companies over the last eighteen years. The firm is well known for its IT and Internet adoption-based segmentation of the SMB markets, its annual retainership services based on global SMB tracking surveys in more than 25 countries, and its proprietary database of SMBs and SMB channel partners in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm invests significantly in collecting survey-based information from several thousand SMBs annually, and is considered the premier source for global SMB trends and analysis.

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