This week, following research from IBM that shows enterprises will be moving en masse to the cloud, AMI-Partners research shows SMBs are heading there too. New figures from RingCentral suggest tablets may be on the way to replacing PCs, while Avaya offers better collaboration and unified communications. Sage, too, has been busy and has released Peachtree 2012.

SMBs Cloud-Focused

Earlier, IBM released its Essential CIO report, which showed that a majority of CIOs will be looking to move their enterprises to the cloud in the next five years. That report didn’t give a breakdown of how big the companies survey are.

A new report from AMI-Partners (news, site) shows that in the SMB space, many companies will also be moving to the cloud, if not in the same numbers as their larger counterparts.

According to AMI-Partners, the proportion of budgets that is being consigned to cloud computing was 10% in 2010, but is forecasted to rise to more than 15% in 2015.

As this migration into the cloud accelerates, SMB buyers are showing a strong inclination to purchase bundled cloud offerings as opposed to a standalone application.

It also shows that 38% of US SMBs have indicated a strong preference for using SaaS as part of a package/bundle, versus only 11% who are interested in a single service.

One third of US SMBs are interested in bundling multiple hosted infrastructure and remotely managed services offerings, versus 9% of firms who only want a single service.

The research is contained in two reports due to be released soon. They include: SMB Cloud Overview, and SMB Cloud Playbook -- Strategic and Tactical GTM Guide.

Combined, they show SMB preference for cloud-based application bundles, price sensitivity and purchase channel preferences.

Avaya Releases Office 7.0

Business collaboration vendor Avaya (news, site), has unveiled new product releases in the SMB space, including the new version of Avaya's communications solution for this market -- Avaya IP Office 7.0 -- which completes the integration of Nortel Enterprise Solutions (NES) IP and digital phones into the IP Office platform (NES was acquired by Avaya, Dec. 2009).

This integration enables approximately 14 million NES user to retain existing phones when upgrading to Avaya IP Office.

The upgrade can be accelerated and simplified by a new Data Migration Tool that lets partners transfer a business' existing data (i.e. voicemails, phone extensions) to their new systems without interruption.

Avaya IP Office 7.0 also delivers an expanded portfolio of devices for multimedia collaboration, including new color touchscreen desktop phones that let users scroll through contacts or manage visual voicemail.

Additionally, new conference room phones offer patented wide-band audio, call recording via SD card and fast USB connectivity to a laptop for temporary set-ups.

Tablets Replacing Laptops?

More research, this time from RingCentral, a vendor of cloud-based phone systems, shows that 51% of SMB professionals would rather take their tablet with them when traveling than a laptop or PC.

Their second annual survey on smartphone and mobile device use for business shows that almost one in every three professionals surveyed (29%) owns a tablet, with 62% using the tablet multiple times a day for business. Primary use for business includes checking emails, visiting websites and reviewing presentations.

In addition to the fast-growing use of tablets, RingCentral’s survey also revealed continued growth in smartphone use. Findings show that:

  • 64% of professionals said they use their smartphone for business more than they did last year
  • 85% said they use their smartphone at least a few times a day
  • 34% reported using an iPhone for business
  • 29% reported using an Android device

Leaving aside the rather unsavory statistic that 58% of users will take a call in the toilet -- makes you think twice about borrowing someone’s phone -- nearly 50% of survey respondents feel that the ability to answer email anytime, anywhere is the best part of having a smartphone for business. There’s no access to the survey itself, but you might want to check out the blog.

Sage Releases Peachtree 2012

Finally, Sage (news, site) has announced the availability of the Sage Peachtree 2012 product line, part of the portfolio of Sage business management solutions that service business needs, particularly in the SMB space.

New with Sage Peachtree 2012 is the Sage Advisor, which helps businesses by following usage patterns and offering brief, personalized “show me how” demos and guided tips and advice on how to simplify processes based on usage.

It also comes with a customized Vendor Management Center dashboard that helps users process large quantities of information about a vendor, enabling quicker research, comparisons and decision making. Sounds a bit like CRM "lite" really.

Other new features, which vary across products, include the ability to copy transactions, enhancements to the management centers for added customization and expanded payroll fields.