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29 September 2010

Good news for SMB Projects

I don't know about you, but it feels like forever since we've had much good economic news. Even though this recession is finally, officially over, the number of lost jobs is just staggering. I don't have to tell you that it will take a long time to dig the world out of this deep of an economic hole.

But all is not lost! As politicians in the US are always quick to point out, it seems that small and medium businesses are fueling what growth there is in the economy. It seem as if technology spending in these sectors is coming along nicely as well. Overall spending is up, software spending is up and hardware spending is slightly down. Not too shabby.

As I read through the report, a few things strike me which could impact project team members. First, while spending is up 4% this year, we're still trying to dig ourselves out of the hole that we've been in for over 10 years now. True, the tech bubble of the late 90s is still to blame for a lot of the stagnation, but I am unsure when the next big bump will come in tech spending. The majority of hardware spend is on replacing existing systems, not expanding or adding new systems.

Tech can often advance productivity, if implemented wisely and correctly, but there isn't anything big I can see on the horizon. The cloud has been with us for a couple of years now, but SMB spending on it is decreasing, not increasing, which indicates that it might be a fad which is finally petering out. 

Second, there is money to be made in not spending money. Not the best sentence in the world, but it seems to be the path we're on. With spending relatively flat but virtualization on the increase, this is a sign that the market is moving towards yet again doing more with less. 

I do find it very interesting that one area of growth is in hosted company email. This mirrors the growth seen in Google Apps for Domains. If you're a project person who specializes in enterprise messaging systems, this is a trend you need to be on board with as it will likely impact you soon (if it hasn't already). This fits with the overall theme of more with less and with a lack of hardware expenditure.

In the end, the study's authors come to the same conclusion that I came to... hold the course, weather the storm and live to do your massive projects once the economy turns around. What about you? Is your SMB company spending for new or just trying to get by with what you've got?