Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Small Business Tech Support Market Not so Small

Parks Associates has released new research forecasting the tech support market for small and midsized businesses in the U.S. market to exceed $20 billion by 2015.

Written in cooperation with PlumChoice, a technology care provider, the research results are based on a survey of owners, managers and IT support decision-makers from U.S. SMBs. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 5.7 million SMBs exist. SMBs are classified as those with one to 99 employees. Since 1998 SMBs have increased nationally by an average of 1 to 2 percent a year.

The use of and interest in professional support services correlate to the current technology challenges facing SMBs today, such as problems with Internet access, peripherals and computer malfunctions. The cloud, virtualization and greater flexibility via remote access are all key trends driving this market, says Park Associates.

According to the study, SMBs have used professional technical support services for a variety of issues, notably for problems related to servers, networking, and computers, peripherals and mobile devices. In addition to demand for as-needed support, there is also interest in routine maintenance and training for software and hardware.

Kurt Scherf, VP & Principal Analyst at Parks Associates, provided some pointers for IT managers. “Professional IT support services can assist IT managers by managing many basic and ongoing needs at the business, such as computer setup, computer optimization, mobile device optimization, etc. This can leave the IT manager with more time to handle more complex tasks, such as server upgrades and IT purchase decision-making.”

There is a strong demand for tech support of all kinds, says Scherf. Parks Associates' research found that more than 35 percent of SMBs have used professional technical support for server issues, the most problematic area for SMBs. More than 30 percent of SMBs are seeking remote technical support for company mobile phones.

Parks Associates note two key trends emerging from SMB support offerings. These include greater flexibility in use of email, applications, databases and servers as well as the moving of backup from desktops or servers to virtualization offerings with real-time restoration capabilities.

From the article, "Small Business Tech Support Market Not so Small" by Valerie Valentine


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