Technology is incredibly important to many small businesses, yet they often struggle with the expense of hiring a dedicated IT person. And even if they do decide to bite the bullet, a one-or-two person IT staff can’t possibly be experts on every technology issue faced by a typical small business?
It seems that big companies see this problem as a market opportunity. At least according to a recent Wall Street Journal article — Small IT Market Attracts Big Companies — that notes moves by Apple and Best Buy to buy companies dedicated to the market.
The article cites IDC research saying “U.S. businesses with less than 500 employees spent roughly $23.5 billion on IT services last year, and are projected to spend $27.2 billion on IT services by 2015.”
That’s a lot of money, but the numbers don't really address how much of that is spent by small businesses (500 employees is more mid-size).
To me, the growth opportunity here comes in small businesses NOT having to invest in these kinds of services, or at least reducing their expenses. Ongoing trends like the consumerization of IT (think iPhones and easy networking) and cloud computing (think Gmail and Salesforce.com) are making it easier than ever for small businesses to handle their own technology needs.
Sure, at some point in a company’s growth cycle, they may need more IT oomph, and then they can look to hire an IT person or hook up with a IT services provider. But in the meantime, I think small businesses should look for every opportunity to leverage technology without having to resort to paying extra for someone to do it for them.