Asia's SMBs a good target for IT services

Small and midsized companies rely on external service providers--a trend that is expected to continue and present huge market opportunities.

There is no better time than now to be in the IT services business, a new market report reveals.

AMI-Partners estimates that the increase in the number of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) in the Asia-Pacific region over the next few years will lead to a total IT services expenditure of US$17.7 billion by 2009.

The research firm estimates that there are 27 million SMBs in the region currently, and the number is likely to increase by 7 percent by 2009.

Diana Ng, a research analyst at AMI-Partners, believes that SMBs will be "big spenders" on outsourcing services, as they have limited resources to maintain an in-house IT team.

"To keep operating costs down, many small businesses prefer to engage IT service vendors on either a service-contract or ad-hoc basis," said Ng.

Another service most sought-after by the SMBs over the past year is PC-related services and support.

"PCs form the backbone of any IT infrastructure and very often require hardware and software maintenance and/or upgrades to keep pace with technological advancements or to protect against virus threats," explained Ng.

Vendors should take note of this opportunity, AMI-Partners noted, as IT services encompass all areas of IT support, from basic computing and networking to more complex areas of IT management and consulting.

Ng advised vendors to match their expertise and knowledge with the requirements of their prospects and customers. Areas to investigate include the target company’s current and projected employee size, reliance on IT in business processes, and plans for expansion.

"Such factors determine the level of IT services required by SMBs. Vendors can then enter the market with confidence to fill in the gaps,” said Ng.

This sounds like sweet music to the ears of the estimated 250 IT service providers in the region.