SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

JEALOUS – Spiceworks IT Report for 2018 Forecasts

First of all, just to be clear, I’m very jealous of Spiceworks. Always have been; always will be. They have successfully scaled an enthusiastic and engaged community of IT Pros over the past 10+ years to dwarf anything in the SMB MSP channel. It’s an interesting company history here.

Full disclosure. I recently attended
the well-regarded SpiceWorld conference in Austin Texas (Spiceworks HQ town) and beyond enjoyed myself. This conference has a couple dimensions and at its core is focused on its technology tools used by IT Pros (SpiceHeads) followed by an unusually strong party culture. Folks were wearing costumes making this the “ComicCon of IT” (a term coined by the The Register – a UK-based publication). In the spirit of Yelping – I will repeat and you should do this at least once. Mark your calendars for October 2018.

Now the good stuff. The 2018 State of IT report was released at SpiceWorld 2017. The logical question is this: what’s in it for me, the SMB Nation MSP? The interactive chart below shows one view for small business (customers) in North America in the context of Managed services budget breakout for 2018.

spiceworks msp chart

Figure 1: Look closely and join me in being surprised that Managed Hosting is a category leader. Seriously?

Other MSP insights (we’ll get to the other stuff later) include:

“The smallest of the small are the biggest procrastinators.” Shared Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks and someone I consider to be a friend over the years. This was in reference to small business customers that an SMB Nation MSP would serve. I concur.

Peter Tsai at SpiceWorld 2017

Figure 2: Hanging with Peter Tsai at SpiceWorld 2017 in Austin, TX (October 2017)

Tsai found that there are three drivers for an MSP to be engaged by a small business. It’s something we already inherently know at SMB Nation but the validation from Spiceworks was worth the price of admission alone (these are listed in order of study findings):

  1. Price. Extreme price sensitivity in SMB.
  2. Existing relationships\
  3. Trust

I expressed my exasperation to Tsai that I wish these findings were exactly reversed with TRUST being number one and he understood but this is what his research found.

Tsai concluded the MSP conversation with the insights that “MSP constraints for the small service provider are lack of budget, lack of time and lack of knowledge. The smaller MSP can’t be expected to know everything about every single technology.”

Other Stuff
In all fairness, the report covered many more topics. Highlights include:

  • IT budgets are expected to stabilize in 2018, and in many cases grow, as many businesses are feeling optimistic about the state of the economy. As a result, many organizations plan to increase their IT staff in 2018 to help manage new hardware, software, and services.
  • 44% of companies expect their IT budgets to increase in 2018, and they expect a 19% increase, on average; 43% expect budgets to remain flat and only 11% of companies expect IT budgets to decrease.
  • 45% of companies plan to hire more IT staff in 2018.
    • Adoption of emerging technology in the workplace is on the rise. As budgets stabilize, many organizations are also planning to increase their adoption of emerging tech like IoT, VR, and AI.
  • Currently, 29% of organizations have adopted IoT while 18% have adopted VR and 13% have adopted AI technology. In the next 12 months, adoption of emerging technologies is expected to increase significantly to 48%, 32%, and 30% for IoT, VR, and AI, respectively.
  • Budgets for cloud-based services are on the rise, and nearly tied with software spend. In fact, among hardware, software, cloud services, and managed services, the highest percentage of businesses (55%) reported an increase in cloud budgets.
  • In 2018, 31% of IT budgets have been allocated for hardware, 26% for software, 21% for hosted/cloud-based services, and 15% for managed IT services.
  • In terms of what’s driving more companies to the cloud, the results show 42% are moving to the cloud to provide access to data anywhere, while 38% are looking to enhance their disaster recovery capabilities and 37% want to enable better flexibility and scalability.
  • Despite the rebound in IT budgets, few companies are budgeting for GDPR. 57% of IT departments still haven’t allocated budget for GDPR, or are unclear if GDPR budget exists.
  • Companies in North America are even less prepared. 69% of NA companies haven’t allocated budget for GDPR, or are unclear if it exists, compared to 44% in Europe.
  • Many companies say they’re not preparing for GDPR because it’s not a priority at their organization or because the steps to comply with GDPR are not clear. Additionally, many US companies assume GDPR doesn’t apply to them, but many still aren’t informed on GDPR’s larger impact on businesses worldwide.



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Get ready for SysAdmin's Day

SpiceWorksIt pros, especially those who provide any measure of tech support to “regular” people, are usually an underappreciated lot. I have a friend who regularly fills her Facebook wall with rants about how stupid “regular” people are and about how they blame her whenever they screw up their technology.

“Of course your keyboard stopped working when you spilled your coffee in it.”

“No you didn’t delete the Internet.”

“It means any key not the any key.”

“You utter and complete dolt!”

I made that last one up, but I’m sure she thinks it every day. I’m equally sure it’s common throughout the tech support community.

Anyhow, there is some evidence suggesting that IT people, especially tech support, occupy a rung on the social and professional ladder somewhere between Comcast retention reps and lawyers.

That’s why several IT focussed companies, including Symantec, Rackspace, Canon and Spiceworks, have been trumpeting SysAdmin Day. In fact, Spiceworks has expanded the concept into a Christmas-like season with a 12 Days of Sysmas concept, complete with daily giveaways and contests.

Founded in 2000 by Ted Kekatos, SysAdmin Day is an annual day of appreciation for IT pros.

“My inspiration for the holiday was a print ad that HP was running showing their new model at the time, an HP LaserJet 4000 printer,” Kekatos told Spiceworks in a 2011 interview. “I had just bought several of them. The ad showed a sysadmin sitting in his cube. Outside of his cube was a line of users bringing fruit baskets and flowers. I tore out the ad and showed it to my coworkers. I thought ‘Hey this is great! A sysadmin is getting flowers, fruit and wine from his users!’ So that was how System Administrator Appreciation Day 1.0 got started.”

Kekatos went home and registered the name and put up a simple website picking the last Friday in July because it “seemed like a good day to have a company party with ice cream and cake.”

“We’re all about IT pros,” says Jen Slaski, Exec. Director, Marketing Communications for the Austin, Texas-based Spiceworks, adding that the company which provides networking and solutions for IT staffers has been doing something to celebrate the event every year since it opened its doors in 2006.

This year you can download all kinds of cool SysAdmin Day things from Spiceworks, including:

sysmas-shirt-renderThe company also ran a contest for a funny T-shirt (they ordered 250 and had 4000 entries in the first day), is running a streeter called IT Ambush – one of those go-out-and-interview-the-common-man features like Jay Leno used to do (or Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans if you live north of the 49th Parallel) – on itsYouTube channelthat asks those “regular” people what their SysAdmin does for them, and will live stream a special SysAdmin Day edition of its next CTRL+ALT+TECH episode at 10am CDT Friday, July 25th. (You can find out how to tune in here or, if you’re in Austin, you can attend in person and be part of the live studio audience. Lunch will be served.)

It’s not shocking that Spiceworks has embraced the event so vigorously. Today there are about 5 million IT workers in the Spiceworks network (out of a total of about 15 million sys admins globally), collectively supporting about 104 million workers in 1.8 million companies, and influencing about $570 billion of the global $3.8 trillion IT industry.

The whole thing has been a huge success for the company, which provides networking and management solutions for the IT community. “That’s one of the cool things about this,” says Slaski. “We came up with the whole concept for our existing users. But now we are getting new people coming into our community and participating. We’ve also seen other tech vendors jumping on the bandwagon and doing their own promotions around it.”

So, to everyone who has provided me with tech support over the years, Happy Sysadmin Day. It’s your day so kick back with a beer and put your feet up. But make it a quick one okay? My computer keeps showing me this unhappy face emoticon on a blue screen and a “your computer needs to restart” message:

BSoD in Windows 8

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Survey Says: 94% of SMBs to Use Tape as Part of Hybrid BDR

iron logoIron Mountain today released a study noting that almost all (or plan to) use magnetic tape cartridges as part of their BDR strategy.

Titled “Perception Versus Reality: The Role of Tape Backup in SMB,” the survey asked more than 400 North American IT professionals in March 2013 to assess the role tape backup. With 91 percent of the survey respondents coming from organizations with fewer than 250 employees, the results offer a unique glimpse into the IT landscape of today’s small and mid-size business. The survey was conducted by Spiceworks, the network for more than 2.5 million IT professionals.

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“Built in Spiceworks” Designed to Give Small Start-Ups a Giant Push

Spiceworks is working to assist SMBs in start-up mode with the introduction of “Built in Spiceworks,” a program designed to help B2B startups get to market and grow their businesses faster. The program pairs startups with hand-selected groups of IT professionals from Spiceworks’ network of 2.5 million to provide the feedback and advice companies need to develop and market the latest B2B products and services.

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SMBs are Continuing Migration to Cloud-Based Business Apps

Spiceworks logoSpiceworks released today the results of a new survey highlighting how cloud-based applications are forcing SMBs to balance IT requirements with employees’ needs for anytime, anywhere access to information. The report,“Catching up to the Cloud: Steady Migration Into Cloud-based File Sharing, Email and Productivity Services,”was sponsored by LogMeIn,  showcases the growing adoption of cloud-based applications at SMBs and how both companies and their employees play a role in the selection of most services.

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Survey Says: VMware Horizon View is preferred by SMBs Modernizing Windows PCs

VMware today revealed in a report conducted by Spiceworks that for a second year in a row, VMware Horizon View is the desktop virtualization solution deployed by SMBs. In addition, the study showed that VDI adoption trends among SMBs have remained steady during the last year, with end-user security and compliance continuing to be the biggest challenges for IT.

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Spiceworks Survey: SMBs Like BYOD, but are Wary of Security Threats

Spiceworks logoSpiceworks revealed in a survey that while SMBs show strong support for BYOD initiatives, they still see the technology as a security threat due to employee loss, theft of misuse of mobile devices.

The Spiceworks study “As BYOD Becomes Mainstream, Complexity Increases for SMBs,” revealed that 61 percent of SMBs have implemented a BYOD policy. However, despite this shift toward greater support, only 37 percent are managing or plan to manage mobile devices using a mobile device management (MDM) offering. The independent study was sponsored by Fiberlink, a leading provider of mobility management solutions for businesses.

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Oops…My Bad! 5 Blogs We Missed Last Week

Here we go again! As I do each week, I am really enjoying bringing our readers a quick round-up of the blog coverage I didn’t manage to get to during the week prior. We have been pretty busy around here at SMB Nation in gearing up for our SMB 150 Awards Gala Dinner, and our Spring Conference, which will be held May 3-5, 2013, at the Microsoft Redmond Campus. For more information, and to register, go to:

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Spiceworks Study Covers BDR in the SMB Space

Spiceworks logoSpiceworks today released the results of a recent Carbonite-sponsored survey of SMBs concerning BDR and data protection. Overall, the survey found that 45% of SMBs have experienced significant data loss.

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