Andaya cites a 2009 midmarket study by IBM, which claims that midsize companies are currently "drowning in a flood of data."
"SMBs want desperately to use that data to gain insight into new opportunities, customer wants and needs, marketplace trends, competitive threats, and, of course, their finances," she says.
IBM's survey shows 75 per cent of all respondents listed "information management" as their top concern. The most pressing business challenges include increasing efficiency and productivity (80 per cent), improving customer care (74 per cent), and better use of information (72 per cent). Similarly, the impact of the economy on IT budgets has caused 53 per cent of those surveyed to actually increase or re-prioritize their spending, with 37 per cent reporting a decrease.
Corroborating IBM's study, Pai points out that information spread across the business processes remains to be a challenge to SMBs. "While IT solutions are in-placed, fragmented and un-integrated technology systems remain to be a concern," says the Oracle executive.
ENTERPRISE CLASS IT
For Emerson, SMBs can achieve successful IT implementations through appropriate infrastructure choice and best practices. Claiming to have a strong IT enterprise experience, the company aims to bring the enterprise-class data center among SMBs.
Russell Perry, director for marketing and customer insights at Emerson, explains that like any other full-size companies, SMBs depend heavily on technology and most of them are faced with issues on choosing the right solution to answer issues such as: "preventing downtime, rising energy consumption and costs, increased computer capacity within the same facility, and system reliability."
To overcome such challenges, he says SMBs need to understand their current business requirements and explore how this requirement can change in the next year or so. Knowing this, they are able to make informed IT choices and initiatives at the best total cost.
Perry identifies two technology approaches of Emerson to SMBs, and these are the Energy Logic approach and the holistic approach. The former seeks to enable an SMB to have a "green" and efficient data center, while the latter aims to establish working relationship with the company to find solutions to its problems.
"Our approach to the SMB market is not all about the IT equipment side but also on how to maintain their infrastructure and manage it to their advantage," Terante says, claiming that with Emerson's energy logic approach, SMBs can save up to 50% of power reduction rate in their data centers.
"Anything we learn in the enterprise space, we bring into the SMB market. We have a highly skilled group of partners and we take some of that DNA, virtually carved it out with Emerson and implant it into these SMBs," says Perry.
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