Live from DMDNY: Web Big Influence on Tech Spending

(Direct) New York–Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are avid buyers of technology products, according to a new study released by Harte-Hanks Inc. at the DMDNY show. Some 72% of those surveyed are planning “significant” technology purchases (exceeding $5,000 per site) in the next 12 months.

Most of the purchasing executives at these firms rely heavily on the Internet to research their technology buying decisions, with 77% saying they rate the Internet as highly or very highly influential in their decisions. Trade shows are also highly influential, said 30% of respondents.

The study, conducted to help technology marketers target their campaigns to the SMB market, found that the hot technology areas are antivirus software, firewalls, and e-mail filtering systems.

Reaching the proper decision-maker at these companies can be tough, the study found. More than 50% of branch locations (which is a large portion of the SMB marketplace) must defer purchasing decisions for computers, networks and phone systems to the parent corporation.

Other findings showed that 31% of SMBs use a third party to manage some part of their information technology infrastructure. The major areas outsourced are network configuration, system configuration and system upgrades.

More than 40% of the companies in the study that outsource a portion of the IT said that the third-party vendor performed a good portion, if not all of the company’s IT needs.

The study, conducted during the first quarter of 2003, included focus groups and interviews with technology buyers at 611 SMB, and analyzed 280,000profiles of IT decision makers from a Harte-Hanks database.

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