There's no need to underline how bad the recession has been for SMBs. But there's light at the end of the tunnel as IDC predicts spending on IT is set to grow this year. Meanwhile, IBM is trying to grab the SMBs Microsoft has annoyed by discontinuing the Windows Essential Business Server.

SMBs Addicted To Mobile

In case you weren’t aware of it already mobile technology is really important to small businesses. In fact, according to the recent the Small Business Technology Poll from AT&T more than 20% of SMBs couldn’t survive without it, while a further 43% said it would be a major challenge to do so.

It also shows that 74% of SMBs depend more on mobile technologies than they did in 2007, a figure that is set to increase as nearly three quarters say they plan to use it more this year than before.

The top uses were:

  • Checking email (+80%)
  • Surfing the Web (57%
  • Smartphones use (91%)

If you are interested in more, check it out at the AT&T website.

SMBs Get Ready To Spend

New research by IT consultancy IDC (news, site) shows that while spending on IT will not return to previous levels until at least next year, it will return to growth this year.

The research also shows that the recession hit SMBs harder than anyone had anticipated with the result that annual growth will remain at 5.5% annually, much lower than previously expected. Key findings from IDC's SMB forecast include the following:

  • A US$ 17.4 billion IT spending increase in 2010
  • SMB IT spending levels will not return to 2008 levels until 2011
  • Spending will grow to nearly US $629.3 billion in 2014
  • SMB spending on PCs and peripherals will experience greatest growth
  • SMB IT growth will be greatest in developing markets

The study entitled Worldwide Small and Medium-Sized Business 2010–2014 Forecast is available from the website.

IBM Playing Footsie With SMBs

More jostling for space in the SMB market from IBM (news, site). This time it has announced that it has added more than 200 partners to its LotusLive cloud services sales channel.

A sales channel without incentives is not much use so IBM has also said it is extending the capabilities of Lotus Foundations by integrating DB2 Express database software into the core appliance offering free of charge, a sure pull for SMBs.

This means that there is no database size limit, no limit on the number of instances or databases per server and no restriction on the number of users. The move aims to pick up the debris after Microsoft announced recently that it was discontinuing its flagship SMB server Windows Essential Business Server.

IGLOO Offers Free Business Templates

Something else for free. Social software vendor IGLOO (news, site) has just announced the availability of the free edition of its online community software which is targeted specifically at the business community.

When a user registers and signs up for a free community, they are given a number of business-ready solution templates, such as corporate website, intranet/team space, partner portal and customer support site and eLearning community.

IGLOO says there will be additional business templates available soon, including Project Team, Research Community, Sales & Marketing Community and an Event Site template.

For free you get exactly what you’d expect, but if you were thinking of using it as a business tool you might want to check out the small print, particularly the no guarantees on uptime and the once a month only backups.

Gordano Puts It Up To Exchange

Enterprise messaging software developer Gordano has just gone to GA with v17 of the Gordano Messaging Suite (GMS).

GMS v17 increases the capabilities of the web client with the addition of Document Management. This feature allows users to store, edit and share documents within the WebMail interface -- providing a simple way to access documents from a remote computer.

A multi-platform solution (Linux, Solaris, Windows, AIX), v17 with Document Management is available for all new and current Gordano users at no additional cost.

Gordano says it works out at 25% cheaper than Exchange and is marketing it as a scalable alternative to the Microsoft heavy weight.

NetDocuments Integrates with Litéra

A new partnership between NetDocuments (news, site) and Litéra (news, site) will give SMBs a new document management tool enabling them to carry out document comparisons on the NetDocuments SaaS platform.

The new abilities are the result of the integration of Litéra Change-Pro comparison software and NetDocuments SaaS content management cloud services.

In practice what this will provide is a document workflow and change management solution that enables organizations to speed productivity and assure document integrity while reducing risk.

You might recall that NetDocuments services law firms of all sizes and provides features like discovery-type searching, two-factor authentication, ethical wall security, email and digital records management and built-in business continuity.

Change-Pro is a key component of the Litéra Desktop and enables document authors to compare Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel as well as Corel WordPerfect and PDF documents in all languages with its optional OCR engine.

Kofax Desktop 2.0 For Small Players

Kofax (news, site) has just announced the release of Kofax Desktop 2.0, a new release of its software for individual users that makes scanning a document as easy as printing by seamlessly embedding such capabilities within Microsoft Office 2007 applications.

The principal upgrade is that it adds full text optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities, allowing images to be exported as searchable PDF files and adding new language versions.

The new release also significantly expands Kofax Desktop's global market reach with the addition of eight new language versions, including French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.