How any business spends its money is obviously very critical. However, how an SMB spends its money on technology can determine its future, including its competitiveness in the market.
Capterra recently surveyed 700 SMBs on their 2019 and 2020 plans for IT purchasing. The top three rankings included cloud computing (48%) and data and information security (47%) for spending priorities this year, preceded only by finance and accounting technology (54%). We are seeing this spending pattern to be accurate in early 2019. These trends are especially evident as we witness a spike in migration to the cloud with solutions like Office 365 and an increase in cloud back-up investments.
Here are three common IT areas SMBs have been spending money on in 2019:
Cloud migration: Office 365
A significant move to Office 365 is one of the biggest trends we are seeing this year. SMBs seemed a little slow last year in regard to implementation but that is not the case for 2019. Most companies upgrading are on legacy versions of Office, but the driving force for the decision seems to be making the move to the cloud due to the many advantages it offers.
Some of the most important benefits include savings on infrastructure costs, maximum uptime and centralized management for applications. Office 365 combines the advantages of cloud technology with the traditional foundation of on-premise software offerings – that is the physical, desktop versions of Office programs. It allows Office applications to be available from multiple computers or devices and also provides storage space on Microsoft’s OneDrive.
One barrier that stops many SMBs from migrating to Office 365 is that they are overwhelmed by the process and potential disruption to emails and other critical processes. In those instances, we recommend using a managed service provider to help with the process. An MSP can handle the entire implementation, allowing customers to focus on their business and day-to-day activities. Implementation timing depends on the size of the business, but our managed migrations average about two to three weeks.
Cloud backup solutions: Finding a safe place for storage
The next trend showing a surge in IT spending this year involves cloud backup and storage. While backup solutions may not be the first things that come to mind when looking at your IT strategy, what you need to realize is that they could very well be the foundation to your success. Think of it this way: You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation to house a strong infrastructure. The same is true for your storage and backup. Storage is the vital base for your cloud and data center. In fact, it truly is the foundation of your business.
Many SMBs that do not have hosted backup services or that are stuck with legacy infrastructures are looking for ways to upgrade without breaking the bank on significant hardware purchases. Cloud solutions provide easy portability and recovery of any on-premise systems or cloud-based workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. The implementation is fairly simple, as well. In just two easy steps, you can maintain business continuity and availability across cloud environments. The benefit of going this route is that it does not require an additional hardware appliance, but keep in mind it does require additional resources on the VM that's running it. However, you have better control of the resources deployed when a restore is required.
Other benefits include agentless backups, deduplication and compression and inexpensive offsite backups. Tools like these can help businesses leverage the growing demand for modern data protection and equip them with the resources needed to reduce expenses, mitigate risk and fully realize the promise of virtualization.
Investing in new infrastructure
While the first two trends discussed are tied to cloud computing and data security, the third trend is updating outdated IT infrastructures. In some cases, like when updating Office 365, updating certain infrastructure is replaced with a cloud option. Other times, there are many systems that need to continually be upgraded and updated.
And, if updating your IT infrastructure is on your business's to-do list for the new year, you're in good company. According to the 2019 State of IT report, 64% of businesses are expanding their budgets in 2019 to allow them to update their infrastructures. While they may have different reasons for needing that update, 2019 appears to be the year when "out with the old, in with the new" applies to IT infrastructures.
Aging and outdated hardware can lead to a variety of problems. It often causes multiple points of failure within a system's architecture. Such a failure can result in huge direct and indirect monetary losses. Downtime is expensive, and there is a decrease in productivity while replacements are found or fixes are made.
When hardware is aging or outdated, the parts are often difficult to find and often costly. If parts can't be located, you may need to look for a short-term "Band-Aid" that lets you continue operations. However, this could end up costing more in the long run than simply replacing the hardware entirely.
In 2019 and beyond, expect to see these trends gain even more traction and continue to offer solid benefits to businesses of all sizes.