The Internet of Things (IoT) - including multiple devices, wearables and Cloud-based services in general – is the current IT trend that is starting to boost income for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The expectations of SMBs and their managed services providers (MSPs) were revealed in a new global survey, which included responses from 180 Australian organisations, by AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the online security company for devices, data and people.
In most areas, the Australian SMBs and MSPs shared similar attitudes to their international counterparts (statistics are shown where the Australian response was significantly different from the global average).
Almost three out of five (57 percent) SMBs agreed that IoT will help improve revenues, a sentiment that was echoed by two-thirds (67 percent) of MSP respondents. However, just 18 percent of SMB respondents thought their IT provider was ahead of the curve regarding IoT management while 70 percent of MSPs themselves admitted the need to adapt their services to meet customer expectations in this regard.
“Our MSP partners are telling us that the Internet of Things is the one IT trend making an immediate difference to their bottom line and the SMB customers that they serve,” said Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG Technologies Australia. “With this study, we wanted to examine MSP and SMB attitudes to monetising IoT more closely in five key markets, analysing key differences between them and between markets.”
The study*, which interviewed 1,770 small businesses and MSPs in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia (45 Australian MSPs and 135 SMBs), also revealed more than half (55 percent) of MSP respondents say customers are demanding IoT related services and 67 percent (76 percent internationally) are planning to expand their service/product portfolio. However, they had better act fast. Of those SMBs with an IT provider, 53 percent (vs 68 percent) feel that their provider could improve their service with regard to Internet of Things offerings and understanding.
“The study clearly shows that as businesses grow to rely more and more on IoT and Cloud-based services to help generate revenue, most MSPs are still some way short of being ready to help customers manage this,” continued Michael McKinnon. “The research strongly indicates that MSPs need to significantly up their game and demonstrate enhanced levels of protection and control over their customers’ ever changing data, security and device needs.”
A summary of the other key findings in the study were:
- Almost half (46%) of SMBs think that the Internet of Things will be the IT trend that has the greatest impact on their organisation over the next five years. An even higher proportion -around seven in ten (71%) - say that due to the Internet of Things their organisation will need to take extra steps to secure and protect their data.
- 62% of SMBs have small to substantial budgets specifically assigned over the next 12 months for the development of Internet of Things solutions.
- Only 18% of SMB respondents say that their IT provider is completely ahead of the curve with regard to the Internet of Things and the potential for their business.
- The majority (84%) of SMB respondents say that their organisation has purchased mobile devices within the last year, spending an average of A$6,800 (A$7,300 global average) on these devices. Of those who have purchased mobile devices within the last 12 months, SMB respondents estimate that their organisation spends an average of A$6,000 (A$5,230 global average) in hidden costs annually. Australian organisations spend less on devices and more on hidden costs such as security, recovery of lost devices and data than their global counterparts.
- Over half (55%) of MSP respondents state that customers are demanding Internet of Things related services and 70% globally but only 58% in Australia say that they will amend their services based on customer need.
- 49% of Australian MSPs currently have an integrated remote monitoring and management platform – compared to the 38% average.
- 44% Australian and 58% of international MSPs say that they will need to join with partners to successfully offer IoT-related services.
- MSP respondents believe their current vendors help make efficiency savings in only 31% of cases and 25% achieve productivity gains for their customers.
- When asked if they had already reviewed their service/product portfolio due to the rise of the Internet of Things, Australian MSPs were well below the global average - 29% compared to 53% globally - and are slow in their intentions, with 79% of global organisations and 69% of Australian MSPs planning to get up to speed within 3 years.
* AVG commissioned independent technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne to undertake this research. 1770 interviews were carried out during September 2014 with IT and marketing decision-makers of organisations with of 1 – 500 employees with and 85/15 per cent split between SMBs and MSPs. Interviews were performed across five countries: UK, US, Canada, Germany and Australia (45 Australian MSPs and 135 SMBs). Respondents to this research came from a range of industry sectors, with only the public sector excluded.
Of the 135 Australian SMBs surveyed, 38% had 1-10 employees; 16% had 11-100 employees and 47% had +100 employees.
Interviews were conducted online using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitably qualified candidates were given the opportunity to participate.
AVG Technologies AU
About AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG)
AVG is the leading provider of software services to secure devices, data and people. AVG’s award-winning consumer portfolio includes internet security, performance optimization, location services, data controls and insights, and privacy and identity protection, for mobile devices and desktops. The AVG Business portfolio, delivered through a global partner network, provides cloud security and remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions that protect small and medium businesses around the world. For more information visit www.avg.com.
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