Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are being cast as the protagonists of the thin-client revolution and the creators of green computing jobs. The conclusions of new research confirm SMBs as innovative users of ICT, and may chime with enterprising jobseekers.
SMBs around the globe employ 80% of the world’s work force and generate more than half of its GDP, according to Access Markets International. Research by IT analysts Gartner Group has also indicated that medium-sized businesses worldwide will increase their IT spending in 2010 by 5.4% over 2009 spending levels.
Researchers at Lancaster University have found that SMBs are set to be the main beneficiaries of thin-client computers, which access applications remotely, rather than storing them locally on disc. Compared with traditional PCs, thin clients cut maintenance costs by 71%, hardware and capital expenditure by 61% and energy costs by 51%, the study found.
"Thin client coupled with cloud computing, higher network bandwidth, more advanced security and choice of business application offers real economic benefits to SMBs," said Liza Layzell, CEO of Thinspace, sponsors of the Lancaster research.
In its SMB Partner annual report, 2010, Microsoft confirms that Software as a Service (SaaS), and thin client are identified by SMBs for achieving both cost reductions and growth. Growth in demand for thin client and remotely-hosted software services will see more jobs in the reseller sector which services these smaller companies, anticipates Microsoft, and also in the SMBs themselves.
“Small and midsize businesses are an important part of every economy and technology is the backbone of many SMBs. IT can help drive the efficiencies and growth that will spur SMB stability as they help lead us to economic recovery,” commented CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer.
A second study, Not So Little Britain, was commissioned by mobile phone company O2 to investigate the opportunities that lie ahead for the small business sector. Conducted by SWQ Consulting, the study based its findings on an analysis of SMBs’ economic contribution to the last economic cycle between 1998 and 2008.
SWQ found that during the period small businesses outperformed larger competitors in creating computer-related jobs and activities by 63 per cent. It also concluded that small businesses had a competitive advantage over bigger companies in the green industries because of their strength in distribution and diversity and their flexibility to respond quickly to commercialise emerging markets.
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