Tablet purchases and cloud services adoption are central themes of an updated IT spending priorities survey conducted regularly by IT social community Spiceworks.
The company's latest State of SMB IT survey shows that more than half of small and midsize businesses (53 percent) support tablet computers on their networks. Within another eight months, the penetration should reach 65 percent, according to the data.
Cloud services adoption also has spiked - they are in use by 62 percent of those surveyed, compared with 48 percent in the first half of 2012. By mid-2013, that number should reach 73 percent.
Spiceworks conducts its survey twice annually to gauge purchasing plans and priorities, as well as IT staffing trends. The latest poll covered 1,356 IT professionals in 100 countries; 63 percent of those surveyed work for companies with 20 to 249 employees, 20 percent came from businesses with fewer than 20 on staff. The remaining 17 percent were from largest companies.
The average budget for SMBs surveyed by Spiceworks rose in the second half of this year to $162,000, compared with $152,00 in the first six months. The average IT budget per employee is illustrated in the chart below:
Here are some other notable findings:
- The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) debate is raging. It has the most support among companies with fewer than 20 employees - 70 percent of that group supports the trend. That compares with 59 percent among survey respondents across all company sizes.
- Upgrades and renewals account for the biggest piece of the IT services budget. The biggest services focus is on hosted backup/recovery and hosted data storage.
- SMBs are investing in desktop virtualization. Approximately one-quarter of the respondents have already invested in this technology and 16 percent plan to make the move within the next six months.
- Security is the top focus among planned software purchases, with more than half of the respondents planning to renew or upgrade their antivirus or antispam applications.