Tuesday, 28 October 2014 15:02

SMBs see good and not so good from Internet of Things Featured

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Australian small businesses expect the Internet of Things will ultimately boost their revenues, but they’re reportedly not that happy with the services provided by their IT providers when it comes to the IoT, according to newly released research.

The latest research commissioned by security vendor AVG reveals that just 18% of Aussie SMBs think their IT provider is up to scratch with their services in relation to Internet of Things offerings and overall understanding of the IoT.

And, according to AVG, 70% of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) admit they do need to adapt their services to meet customer expectations of their management of the IoT.

The survey, undertaken for AVG by Vanson Bourne, reveals that the IoT, including multiple devices, wearables and cloud-based services in general, is the current IT trend that’s starting to boost income for small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), here in Australia and around the world.

The Australian survey, part of a wider global survey by AVG, included feedback from 180 Australian organisations (45 MSPs and 135 SMBs).

On the trend for higher revenues, there’s apparent agreement between SMBs and the MSPs. According to the survey, almost three out of five (57%) SMBs agreed that IoT will help improve revenues, while two-thirds (67%) of MSP concurred.

According to Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG Australia, the company’s MSP partners are telling them that the Internet of Things is the “one IT trend making an immediate difference to their bottom line and the SMB customers that they serve.”

But, McKinnon also says the study clearly shows that as businesses grow to rely more and more on IoT and cloud-based services to help generate revenue, “most MSPs are still some way short of being ready to help customers manage this.”  

“The research strongly indicates that MSPs need to significantly up their game and demonstrate enhanced levels of protection and control over their customers’ ever changing data, security and device needs.”

According to McKinnon, the study also revealed that more than half (55%) of Australian MSPs say customers are demanding IoT related services and 67% (76% internationally) are planning to expand their service/product portfolio.

Here’s AVG’s summary of the other key Australian findings in the study:

SMBs

•    Almost half (46%) of SMBs think that the Internet of Things will be the IT trend that has the greatest impact on their organisation over the next five years. An even higher proportion -around seven in ten (71%) - say that due to the Internet of Things their organisation will need to take extra steps to secure and protect their data.

•    62% of SMBs have small to substantial budgets specifically assigned over the next 12 months for the development of Internet of Things solutions

•    Only 18% of SMB respondents say that their IT provider is completely ahead of the curve with regard to the Internet of Things and the potential for their business

•    The majority (84%) of SMB respondents say that their organisation has purchased mobile devices within the last year, spending an average of A$6,800 (A$7,300 global average) on these devices. Of those who have purchased mobile devices within the last 12 months, SMB respondents estimate that their organisation spends an average of A$6,000 (A$5,230 global average) in hidden costs annually. Australian organisations spend less on devices and more on hidden costs such as security, recovery of lost devices and data than their global counterparts

MSPs

•    Over half (55%) of MSP respondents state that customers are demanding Internet of Things related services and 70% globally but only 58% in Australia say that they will amend their services based on customer need

•    49% of Australian MSPs currently have an integrated remote monitoring and management platform – compared to the 38% average

•    44% Australian and 58% of international MSPs say that they will need to join with partners to successfully offer IoT-related services

•    MSP respondents believe their current vendors help make efficiency savings in only 31% of cases and 25% achieve productivity gains for their customers

•    When asked if they had already reviewed their service/product portfolio due to the rise of the Internet of Things, Australian MSPs were well below the global average - 29% compared to 53% globally - and are slow in their intentions, with 79% of global organisations and 69% of Australian MSPs planning to get up to speed within 3 years.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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