The cloud, tablets, and a hiring freeze. Good, good, and mixed news, respectively, for midmarket IT. But the jury is still out on BYOD. That's according to the recently published semi-annual survey of midmarket IT by Spiceworks.
In addition to offering free online assistance with software management, Spiceworks is a community of IT pros. It claims around 2 million members -- or one in four of the world's IT population. The results of its "State of SMB IT 2H 2012" survey were culled from a small subsection of its membership (around 1,400 pros), but it is certainly still worth a look.
More than 60 percent of those surveyed work for companies with between 20 and 249 employees. About two-thirds are based in North America. The survey is available as a free download here (registration required).
The headlines make interesting reading. As I predicted in July 2011, to general disbelief, the tablet revolution in the midmarket enterprise is real and growing. Fifty-three percent of SMBs now support tablets on their networks, making them almost as widely used as smartphones.
As we've discussed again and again, cloud adoption, too, is continuing to increase, with 62 percent of SMBs now using some kind of cloud service, a substantial increase on last year. The figure is likely to rise to 73 percent by early 2013.
Although IT budgets are still rising, hiring isn't. Hardware accounts for the lion's share of IT spend, with software not far behind. The hard lesson might be that, when it comes to bodies on the job, small, agile IT departments are learning to do more with less.
Perhaps the most interesting conclusion, though, relates to BYOD. It seems the SMB IT community is still divided on the legitimacy of employees using their own devices as business tools. Very small businesses are the exception, where permitting staff to use their own devices might well represent a considerable cost saving:
Fifty-nine percent of SMBs support a BYOD initiative, but IT pros remain split on supporting this policy. Our survey finds that 14% of SMBs fully embrace the trend, 32% note that it works well for some devices, but not for others, 24% claim it's a headache for their IT department, and the remaining 30% have not formed an opinion. Notably, SMBs with less than 20 employees are embracing the trend with over 70% supporting BYOD.
Thirty-two percent of IT pros believe BYOD makes more sense with some devices than others, while a full 24 percent simply dismiss it as a "headache." One Spiceworks user is vehement: "With the launch of the original iPad and the swarm of tablets that followed coupled with the huge increase in smartphone usage by the average person, more and more devices are getting into the hands of users, which translates into bigger headaches for IT."
This surely is one trend we'll see changing over the next 12 months. For the midmarket especially, BYOD is surely going to become a fact of life, leaving only the question of how best to manage it.
— Kim Davis , Community Editor, Internet Evolution