Indian SMB IT spend to grow 24 percent

Small and midsize businesses in India appear to understand the adage that IT is a business enabler, new AMI-Partners report finds.

The message that IT can help boost competitive advantage is resonating among Indian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a new research study shows.

According to AMI-Partners' latest report on India's SMB IT spending, businesses are forecast to spend 24 percent more than last year, increasing IT infrastructure spending in the country to just over US$8 billion.

"Growing awareness of computing technology and the benefits of Internet access have resulted in greater IT adoption among Indian's SMBs," said Neha Jalan, a Kolkata-based analyst at AMI-Partners, in a statement. "Indian SMBs view technology adoption as an effective strategy by which to overcome competition."

Investments in computing technologies such as desktop computers and printers form the lion's share of Indian SMBs' IT budgets, said AMI.

The report revealed that there are still untapped opportunities for IT vendors among small businesses--defined as companies that employ between one and 99 employees--where fewer than one-third of those surveyed owned a PC. Among small businesses that already own PCs, AMI said, 40 percent are considering buying additional hardware this year.

While computing products will still account for the bulk of IT investments, Internet spending is fast increasing as Indian SMBs embrace IP-enabled (Internet Protocol) business process services.

According to AMI, the number of businesses that have mobile workers increased by over 20 percentage points over last year. These companies' preferences for value-added services from their telecom service providers, such as advanced mobile applications that include mobile e-mail and instant messaging, also reflect the increasing need for 24 by 7 access to information.

Medium-sized businesses, defined as companies with between 100 and 999 employees, plan to implement advanced security and storage technologies this year. Six in 10 midsize businesses surveyed listed increased IT storage capacity and enhanced storage solutions as a key strategic priority, said AMI.

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