SMBs significantly upping investment in hardware

IT budgets remain level for many SMBs, but investment in hardware is on the rise

Sales increase in hardware

SMBs are making significant increases to their hardware budgets in 2019, Spiceworks report reveals.

Hardware - mainly consisting of computing devices (desktops, laptops, mobiles) and on-premise servers - has been found to take the biggest piece of the IT budget-pie by some margin, with figures rising a startling 11% from 31% in 2018 to 42% in 2019. Conversely, larger businesses are funnelling a greater percentage of their resources into cloud infrastructure, leaving their hardware budget allocations at 33%.

Here, a 2019 trend is apparent whereby hardware budget allocations reduce as a percentage as company size increases. By contrast, in 2018 hardware budget allocation was consistent across company size until global organisations with over 5,000 employees were taken into account, where a decrease was shown.

Of the two main types of hardware, SMBs invest the bulk of their IT budget into computing devices. This can be attributed to technology end of life, with Spiceworks report pointing out the extended support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 is due to end in the near future. Employees need to be armed with the tools to do the job, and technology end of life can prevent them from doing so. Rather than be stranded with unsupported devices, SMBs have little choice but to refresh their devices through investment.

Diving deeper into the figures, for now desktops remain the primary computing device within SMBs. From 2018 to 2019 however, laptop computing made minor gains, snatching a percentage or so of the budget allocation. It's reasonable to forecast that laptop investment will soon surpass desktops, particularly when taking remote working initiatives into account.

It is worth noting that, although the allocation percentage of hardware budgets is increasing for SMBs, in real terms this may not be the case. Of those SMBs surveyed by Spiceworks, only 36% expect an increase in their IT budgets, compared with 48% who anticipate no change, and 7% who even envisage a decrease. As a result, the monetary amounts of investment cannot be said to have swelled across the board.

It isn't all doom and gloom. Reduced IT budgets may be a symptom of cost-saving measures facilitated through the past introduction of technologies. For instance, the cloud has brought numerous advantages to all types of business, providing greater flexibility which helps budgets go further. Resources are freed, allowing them to be steered towards other business initiatives.

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