Every year, Techaisle, a global SMB IT research company, examines the latest IT trends for small and midsize businesses. In this year’s survey, the firm investigated nineteen different topics and ranked the top ten IT challenges and opportunities for mid-market businesses. Here’s a look at how they ranked the top five challenges—and how Microsoft customers are rising to the occasion.
Challenge #1: Excessive data growth
According to the MIT Technology Review, only 0.5 percent of data is ever analyzed. For many business, the prospects of what can be achieved with better data insights are thrilling, but dealing with the volume and complexity of their data is overwhelming. Sam Vanhoutte, Codit CTO and Product Manager, recalls the decision to implement Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power BI: “We had been looking into other big data services, but they [were] so complex and so far from our existing knowledge that we would have had to hire expensive data scientists. With Azure, we saved months and months of time because we could focus immediately on what we want out of the data instead of focusing on how we should learn to get something out of the data.”
Challenge #2: Mobile security
According to a 2016 survey conducted by IBM, 26 percent of respondents indicated that their company had increased revenue as a result of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program. But, 63 percent indicated that there were a greater number of security risks than expected. And with the modern workforce increasingly reliant on their mobile devices, many IT managers have concerns about how they can secure company data. Toshiro Mine and his team at SoftBank Technology had difficulty managing the wide variety of devices employees were using at work. “There was no way … to determine whether these [security] policies were properly applied to iPhone and iPad devices,” said Mine. After running a small-scale pilot, Softbank Technology implemented Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. “Thanks to the Enterprise Mobility Suite, we are able to reduce iOS device management time by 20 percent, prevent information leakage in email, and more securely download files in SharePoint.”
Challenge #3: Implementing and accelerating cloud computing
While the TechAisle survey shows that moving to the cloud is one of the top challenges for mid-market businesses, one thing is very clear: they are not backing down. The IDG Cloud Computing Survey 2015 shows that small and midsize businesses are moving to the cloud to enable business continuity (50 percent), lower total cost of ownership (44 percent), and improve customer support or services (38 percent). Despite embracing a cloud-first strategy, Sulaiman Adedokun, of Meristem Securities Limited, had experienced issues with services from other cloud providers. After a successful Office 365 implementation, the company decided to migrate to Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Azure SQL Database. According to Adedokun, “Company policy is to operate on the cloud. Everything we want to do, we can do straight from the cloud. This Microsoft solution has provided us with the opportunity to provide better service to our clients.”
Challenge #4: Mobile device management
If there is one clear takeaway from these survey results, it is the importance of defining a cohesive mobile strategy. For the city of Zeist, Netherlands, enabling a mobile workforce has been a top priority since 2012. But with solutions from a number of different vendors, its IT infrastructure had grown incredibly complex. As systems management became more complicated, the city lost its ability to help remote workers do their jobs effectively and efficiently. In 2014, the city decided to transition to a Microsoft-based environment. Since then, Project Leader Ralf Hermsen has seen a clear difference. “With Enterprise Mobility Suite, we can easily roll out and administer software and devices via the cloud, and we can safely grant access to mobile devices on our network.”
Challenge #5: Budget constraints
Budget constraints are painful but inevitable, so it’s not surprising to see this response show up in the top five. For Vachara Aemavat, Founder and CEO of Computerlogy, there was a point where he worried about whether or not he could find the right service provider to host his social media monitoring application, SocialEnable. As it turned out, Microsoft offered the security and reliability he needed in a cost-effective solution. “Our biggest IT-related cost is maintenance, but Microsoft Azure mostly takes care of itself,” said Aemavat. “I would have had to pay thousands of dollars per month to maintain SocialEnable on our existing server configuration. Azure costs half that.”
No matter how many IT challenges your businesses faces, Microsoft offers flexible, right-fit solutions to help you succeed. To learn more, visit us online or give us a call at 1-855-270-0615.