Technology giant IBM has conducted a survey of more than 2,000 medium sized businesses and how they plan to take advantage of technology such as hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) over the coming 18 months.
The results, which account for firms in over 20 different countries, indicate that budgets will increase for customer service solutions, collaboration, analytics, and most notably, cloud computing.
Location independent, or ‘cloud’ computing, means that software, data and other resources are shared across several servers, rather than a single desktop computer or network. Google Docs is a good example – it allows several users to collaborate on a document or spreadsheet regardless of where they are accessing it from.
The report found that many companies felt that two thirds of the companies questioned had either just deployed or were preparing to roll out cloud computing.
The findings show that such firms were bucking the recent trend to save money on IT – three quarters of all firms surveyed say that they are planning to upgrade core systems in a bid to improve security, reliability and performance.
Many see such measures as essential to upgrading their current business phone systems in a bid to save money in the long run. The flexibility offered VoIP, or IP telephony, means that savings can be made when choosing a service provider, and cloud computing means that mobile or telecommuting staff are able to access important documents and have telephone calls routed to them wherever they are.
Andy Monshaw, General Manager at IBM, said of the report:
“The survey findings show that midsize firms are tackling a new set of opportunities to advance their role as engines of economic growth.”
The results of a similar survey by the company in 2009 showed that only 47 per cent of firms were focussed on growth, compared to 79 per cent in the latest report.