It’s a cliché, but it’s as true now as ever: The only constant in business is change. Digital transformation efforts are as essential for small and mid-sized businesses as they are for large enterprises—and SMBs are engaged in their transformative efforts for largely the same reasons as large enterprises: to engage more effectively with customers, streamline business processes and improve productivity.
What is surprising, however, is many of the challenges small and mid-sized businesses face when it comes to their digital transformation efforts are also similar to those of larger companies.
According to Insight 2020 Technology Report: IT Trends for Midmarket and Small Business, a survey-based report from IT services provider Insight, even as 95% of IT professionals who work at SMBs have implemented, or plan to implement within the next year, digital transformation initiatives, 49% said integrating new technology with legacy systems is very challenging to extremely challenging.
Understandably, when survey respondents cited their top challenges when deploying the best available technology 52% said information security concerns, while 46% pointed to their ability to find the tools that best fit with their existing technology. Surprisingly, all three of those concerns surpassed budget constraints in importance.
Respondents also cited cloud computing as the most important technology when it comes to the growth of their organization. Next up were data analytics, artificial intelligence and IoT.
Fifty-six percent of small and mid-sized businesses said comparing cloud costs to current costs is their biggest barrier to cloud migration. That was followed by security requirements (50%). When it comes specifically to cloud, 65% of respondents said security and compliance are their primary challenges.
The survey also highlighted that small and mid-sized businesses may need to focus on improving how they engage with IT services providers. The survey found 41% of respondents said they use from six to 10 IT vendors, with another 24% saying they use more than 10—not all is rosy in these relationships. Many respondents cited hurdles when it came to working with their service providers, and they rated the following as “very” to “extremely” challenging when working with their vendors:
- Customizing solutions to business needs and objectives (44%).
- Coordinating internal and external resources on complex IT projects (43%).
- Vendors cater more to larger enterprises (43%).
- Asset managing and juggling licenses from multiple providers (40%).
- Vendors do not understand small business needs (40%).
The survey did find that 64% of respondents believe their IT program is very flexible at adapting to organizational changes and growth, while 57% of respondents believe their IT program is well-equipped to implement new technologies.
These challenges echo the challenges faced by large enterprises, such as those we covered in our post, Legacy Systems Prove to be Digital Transformation Headwind. And, of course, large enterprises have challenges with budget, security and talent constraints.
The research was conducted online by M/A/R/C Research among 408 IT decision-makers at small and mid-sized organizations with 10 to 1,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada. The Data was collect from Aug. 29 through Sept. 6, 2019.