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What Gartner’s Predictions Mean to Entrepreneurs

Topic: Entrepreneur Evangelist | Comments (3)

Posted on January 13, 2010 by admin

SMB Market Entry PointToday Gartner released findings for a new 2010 technology survey (see here for the press release with the highlights, or here for the full detailed report). While nothing it lists is shocking, there is an interesting statistic that I think is worth discussing:

By 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets

Of course, in the world of small businesses and entrepreneurs, this is already true, but the fact that Gartner is predicting this for the enterprise space as well, is good news for those of us who run smaller businesses.

For starters, the enterprise market continues to be a huge driver. And it’s not as much that enterprises are driving cutting edge innovation themselves, but that the prospect of landing enterprise contracts and clients is driving small startups to innovate in an attempt to secure that business.

This has potentially immeasurable value to smaller organizations. Since one of the most common sales models for cloud-based applications is a ‘freemium’ model (such as WorkingPoint), in which small organizations or teams can use basic functionality for an extremely low price, this provides endless opportunities for small business.

Cloud-based solutions, such as SuccessFactors and SalesForce, started off with a focused market target of small to mid-sized businesses. And then when enterprise clients start signing on, it was a major win. With enormous new client contracts and fresh rounds of funding, these companies (and others like them) have continued to grow and evolve their product offering — and the small businesses who use their solutions continue to benefit. (This report from Interwest discusses how SaaS providers often start at the SMB market, and then work their way upstream.)

The other place this is great news is for those of us who work in the technology industry: not only does this potentially help spur an entire new generation of technology startups, but it also raises the need for specialized consulting service. Migrating data from legacy systemst to hosted ones is a big and highly lucrative business. And, as more environments have to manage more data across more disparate systems, more complicated challenges about security, access and operational efficiency will continue to surface.

So, while the downside to some of Gartner’s predictions mean that more technical people are going to be laid off from enterprise IT organizations, there are always going to be technical needs that have to be met in any large business environment. And whether an entrepreneur is building a startup that provides web-based products, or developing out a suite of professional services to help business leverage their distributed technology assets, in the end, there are going to continue to be exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs with experience in this space.

Alora Chistiakoff is an entrepreneur, content strategist and project manager who has been developing online business and technology for startups for more than a decade.  She co-owns The Indigo Heron Group, Inc., a content strategy firm in Austin, Texas