Microsoft’s SMB survey shows spending is definitely in the air but while it looks like they will be investing in technology, many are looking for cost efficiencies through IT department cuts. Iron Mountain gives SMBs litigation support.

SMBs To Spend, But Not On IT Departments

The SMB will-they-won’t-they spend (on IT) discussion continues this week with news from Microsoft’s (news, site) SMB channel partners across the world. 63% of the partners said they would be spending on software this year, as opposed to 25% who said they would in 2009.

In all, the second annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report shows that spending is expected to increase by an average of 16% with virtualization, SaaS and CRM spending the key areas where SMBs expect to spend, but many say they will be cutting their IT departments.

It also found that 19% of them believed their customers would be using cloud-based systems in some form during 2010. Key trends that the survey disclosed were:

  • Spending will be up, but cuts to IT staff and budgets from 2009 levels are expected
  • Cost-efficiency and driving business growth are the principal business concerns
  • Cloud computing solutions that give flexibility, security and affordability will be the big winners.
  • More remote workers will drive demand for mobile solutions
  • SMBs are increasingly turning to vendors and value-added resellers (VARs) for more tailored solutions that demonstrate a deep understanding of customers and their needs.

Gartner (news, site) says that the SMB market represents 44 percent of the total IT market spending with SMBs expected to spend US$ 800 billion on IT in 2010. A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Iron Mountain Organizes Paper Records

Iron Mountain has just released a new solution that will help small and medium sized businesses find and organize paper based information for litigation proceedings.

Combining records management technology with consulting, its Litigation Support Solution enables companies to search through hard copy records and digitize documents so they can be processed more efficiently for legal review.

The Litigation Support Solution includes the company's records management software, document scanning and integration with review and archiving services, providing a suite of tools for accessing hardcopy information, digitizing it and readying it for legal review.

Additionally, companies are also being offered the services of Iron Mountain's consulting expertise to set records policies like retention schedules and legal holds for managing information.

According to the 2009 edition of the annual Litigation Trends Survey Report, since 2007 the number of small companies spending more than US$ 1 million annually on litigation is growing from 4 percent to 13 percent.

Among mid-size companies, or those with revenues between US$ 100 - 999 million, the percentage spending more than US$1 million climbed from 26 to 38 percent.

SaaS CRM Offers Twitter Integration

SaaS CRM provider Intelestream has just announced that it has added a Twitter (news, site) integration tool to intelecrm, a CRM solution for small and medium sized businesses.

The Twitter Pro module allows users to search Twitter for specific keywords, track related tweets, save tweets as records in intelecrm, convert tweet records as leads and send external tweets -- all within the intelecrm environment.

The development road map includes a number of new Social CRM features that the company is hoping to roll out over the next two quarters to complete the picture.

Those social features include developing additional Social CRM components including modules for Facebook, LinkedIn and Jigsaw.

Microsoft Beta To Stamp-out Bugs

Also for the SMB market, Microsoft has begun beta testing a new automated end-user support system that aims to simplify finding and eliminating tech support problems for both end users and small to medium sized businesses (SMB).

The Microsoft Fix It Center includes the Fix It Button technology that the company debuted last year, which gives users the option to have a bug fix automatically installed for them by simply clicking on the button.

A client and Web-based service, it guides users through the complete support experience from automated fixes, self-help in the cloud or assisted support if needed.

The Fix It Center is a free downloaded service that provides multiple, automated troubleshooting tools designed to help users diagnose and fix problems.

At the moment, it includes 300 solutions in 24 languages with able to maintain multiple devices under the same account.