4 Tech Trends You Need to Get In On for 2012

Has your business invested in new technology recently—or are you planning to do so this year? If not, you might end up behind the eight-ball instead of ahead of the curve. A study of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) conducted by Spiceworks Inc. reports that, in 2011, SMBs spent more on IT than they have for quite a while. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, with the rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones among consumers and the growth of cloud computing services. Now these trends are spreading to business as well. Here’s some of what the Spiceworks State of SMB IT survey found: Businesses are spending more on IT. For the second half of 2011, IT budgets grew 9% over the first half of 2011 of the year—the biggest increase in 2 years. Businesses are adding IT employees. 31% of respondents said they plan to hire additional IT staff in the next 6 months. Businesses are using tablets. 50% of SMBs in the survey said they either already use tablet computers or will start doing so in the next 6 months. Businesses are converting to the cloud. Almost half of SMBs (46%) said they use cloud services—a huge increase from the 14% that were doing so in mid-2010. The Spiceworks survey focused on companies with under 1,000 employees, so this isn’t a survey of the smallest of the small. But what I think is interesting about these results is that two of the big trends—tablets and cloud computing—can easily be used by the smallest of the small. One of the most exciting things about cloud computing is that it’s so affordable. In fact, for small companies, it can be a huge savings. And even one-person businesses are using tablets to do things like take orders, accept payments and do demos to customers in the field. And don't think the other trend—hiring IT workers—is beyond your financial grasp. With the growing availability of outsourcing solutions like Guru.com or Elance.com to help you find virtual IT employees, even small companies that can’t afford to hire full-time IT staff can get the help they need part-time or virtually. The growing business use of tablets and the cloud illustrates a key trend: Increasingly, the same tech tools we use for fun in our personal lives can also be used for business. This simplifies life—and isn’t simplicity what busy business owners crave most? If you haven’t already explored what cloud computing can do for your business, make time to do so, sooner rather than later. A SCORE Mentor can help. If you don’t have a Mentor, visit the SCORE website to get connected with one and get free business advice 24/7.
Rieva Lesonsky
<p> Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. <br /> <a href="http://www.growbizmedia.com/" target="_blank" title="GrowBizMedia">GrowBizMedia.com</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/rieva" target="_blank" title="Rieva on Twitter">@rieva</a> | <a href="https://www.score.org/author/Rieva-Lesonsky/all-posts" title="blogs by Rieva">More from Rieva</a></p>


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