As small businesses become more complex and robust, so do their technical needs – and new research shows those needs will present growth opportunities throughout the tech support industry.
According to the study by Park Associates and PlumChoice, revenue for small-business tech support services will more than double in the next four years to upwards of $20 billion.
"SMBs' technological needs are getting increasingly complex, with mobile devices creating new challenges and the cost/benefit ratio tilting toward professional technical support," Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at Park Associates, said in a prepared release, referring to small and midsize businesses. "The cloud, virtualization and greater flexibility via remote access are all key trends driving this market."
The research found that the value of technology consulting services will grow as small businesses' technology decision makers recognize the increasing need for ongoing care, preventive maintenance and optimization of systems.
Server issues currently force small-business owners to seek outside help most often, but new mobile technologies are commanding an increasing amount of support attention, the study said.
According to the research, small businesses lose more than three hours per month troubleshooting mobile phone issues, nearly the same as server issues. As a result, more than 30 percent of the small-business owners surveyed said they desire remote technical support for their company's mobile phones.
"Mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets are becoming part of the SMB technology landscape in an irreversible way," Josh Clifford, vice president and general manager of business services at PlumChoice, said in a prepared statement. "As a result, SMB support requirements have changed remarkably from just a few years ago, as Park Associates' research indicates."
The research concludes that companies seeking to establish a foothold in IT support services for small businesses need to offer support across a wide range of products and services, including servers, smartphones, work stations and tablets. Additionally, they must offer those support services in a timely and convenient manner for their customers.
The study, "The Opportunity for National Brands in SMB Technical Support Services," drew on data from a survey of owners, managers, and IT support decision makers from U.S. small businesses.