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Small Businesses Flex Tech Muscles

Cloud computing
Cloud computing / Credit: Shutterstock: Rangizzz

Small and midsize businesses more than make up for their size by their aggressive embrace of advanced IT technology, a new study shows. Nearly half of more than 1,000 SMBs surveyed have adopted tablet computers or cloud services, buoyed by the greatest jump in IT budgets in more than two years.

Twice a year Spiceworks, a social business network for IT, conducts a global study investigating the latest technology purchasing, usage and staffing trends among companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

In the latest survey, conducted this fall, a full third of the companies said they had already deployed one or more tablets on their networks, and more than 50 percent of them are planning to use tablets in 2012.

Cloud services are now used by nearly half (46 percent) of all SMBs, according to the study, compared with 28 percent that reported using cloud services in the first half of 2011. Virtualization continues to dominate the SMB information technology agenda, with 61 percent of the reporting companies using virtualization.

Overall IT budgets in the second half of 2011 grew 9 percent from IT budgets for the first half of the year, the largest increase in two years. The average annual IT budget for SMBs, which includes IT hardware, software and services,  now stands at $143,000, up from $132,000 for the first six months of 2011. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of SMBs plan to hire additional IT staff.

"Despite market fluctuations, 2011 proved to be a great year for disruptive technologies as SMBs increasingly adopted tablet computers, cloud services and virtualization technology," said Jay Hallberg, Spicework's co-founder and marketing VP. "The results of our most recent survey show SMBs making similar strategic technology investments with expanded budgets – pointing to a stronger market for IT products and services among small and midsized businesses in 2012."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.