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SMB Group's Top 10 Technology Trends

Report from The SMB Group detailing the top 10 SMB technology trends in 2017. Number one is that the cloud continues to power SMB Technological Transformation - number eight says that SMB Mobile momentum continues.

2017 has the potential to bring unprecedented changes to the technology landscape for SMBs. In most years, the top tech trends tend to develop in an evolutionary way, but this year we also will see some more dramatic shifts that SMBs need to put on their radar. Areas such as cloud and mobile continue to evolve in important ways, and they are also paving the way for newer trends in areas including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, integration and the Internet of Things (IoT) to take hold among SMBs. Although we can’t cover all of them in our Top 10 list, here’s our take on the trends that hold the most promise for SMBs in 2017. (Note: SMB Group is the source for all research data quoted unless otherwise noted.)

1. The Cloud Continues to Power SMB Digital Transformation.

2. IoT Moves from Hype to Reality for Early-Adopter SMBs.

3. The Rise of Smart Apps for SMBs.

4. Focused, Tailored CRM Solutions Take Hold Within SMBs.

5. SMBs Get Connected with New Collaboration Tools.

6. SMBs Modernize On-Premises IT with Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

7. Application Integration Gets Easier for Small Businesses.

8. SMB Mobile Momentum Continues, but Mobile Management Lags.

9. Online Financing Options for Small Businesses Multiply.

10.Proactive SMBs Turn to MSSPs and Cyber Insurance to Face Security Challenges.

1. The Cloud Continues to Power SMB Digital Transformation. Most SMBs understand that they need to put technology to work to transform their businesses for the future: 72% of SMB decision makers say that technology solutions can help them significantly improve business outcomes and/or run the business better, and 53% plan to increase technology investments. And although most SMBs don’t have the internal IT resources required to take advantage of technology innovation, the cloud has become the backbone to enable this. SMBs are increasingly opting to put new workloads in the cloud, relying on cloud providers to supply, manage and maintain IT infrastructure and applications for them. SMB adoption of cloud-based business solutions continues to rise steadily across all business solution categories. SMBs also are turning to hyper scale providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, and regional managed service providers (MSPs) are providing more turnkey services—from security to storage to virtualization to analytics—to accommodate infrastructure requirements. Flexibility, cost, speed and ease of deployment benefits are key drivers, but it’s also true that for most resource-constrained SMBs, the cloud is the only option to deploy the new solutions they need for their businesses.

2. IoT Moves from Hype to Reality for Early-Adopter SMBs. The Industrial IoT, which connects physical objects to the internet, will radically change how businesses and governments interact with the physical world. By replacing manual data collection and subjective judgments with automated data collection, analysis and measurements, IoT solutions can help SMBs save money, improve security, develop new services and even create new business models. IoT solutions typically target verticals or micro-verticals, blending innovation with pragmatism to solve real world problems. Although IoT solutions require technological expertise to build, SMBs don’t need to be technology experts to quickly deploy and benefit from them. Examples include solutions to help farmers increase crop yields; make HVAC, lighting, locks and other store equipment smart for retailers; and help concrete manufacturers efficiently monitor concrete strength and temperature. Although SMB adoption of IoT is still nascent, industrial IoT partnering initiatives from Dell, IBM, Intel, Cisco, SAP, Qualcomm and others are now delivering the solutions and proof points required to move industrial IoT from hype to reality. Stay tuned for our 2017 Routes to Market Study, where we’ll learn more about SMB adoption of IoT.

3. The Rise of Smart Apps For SMBs. AI and machine learning are arguably at the top of the technology hype heap. These technologies make computer programs “smart” by enabling them to learn, change and predict patterns as they are exposed to new data, and to “converse” with users to answer their queries and provide analytics and insights. While big tech companies such as Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortana and Zo), Amazon (Echo), Google (search) and IBM (Watson) are leading the charge, SMBs can benefit from smarter apps that learn and provide more business guidance. Smart apps require lots of data to operate and learn, so vendors with large SMB user bases are leading the charge to build AI platforms and developer ecosystems.

For more, download the report.