SMEs in developed regions lukewarm about innovative new technologies

12 Aug 2008

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around the world are more worried about the economy than interested in the most potentially innovative new technology, a new study shows.

Current economic growth and business conditions are by far the greatest concern for SMEs, particularly in North America, Latin America and western Europe, according to the study, called Taking the Temperatures of SMBs Worldwide: Regional Attitudes and Technology Interests, Mid-Year 2008.

It “took the temperature” on five different areas: future economic growth and business conditions; ‘green’ technology; software-as-a-service (SaaS); virtualisation; and use of the internet as a key business resource.

Virtualisation and green technologies are not yet registering with SME owners except in more advanced medium-sized businesses across regions, the study finds.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS), in contrast, has a somewhat higher level of current visibility, although interest is still at an early stage.

IDC expects SMEs to get more interested in virtualisation and SaaS in the next 12-24 months as vendor promotions take a grip.

Going ‘green’ will be a much tougher sell, especially in underdeveloped areas, and IDC analysts don’t expect temperature readings to change much in the future.

“While the growth of SME investment in technology will continue to outpace spending growth in larger firms, economic and business conditions are on everyone’s mind,” said John Roberts, research manager for Global SMB Research at IDC.

“Despite the global slowdown, SMEs across all regions need to look ahead to when the global economy rebounds. Most still have a near-term focus, with only modest interest in technology areas that have been getting a lot of attention elsewhere.”

By Sorcha Corcoran