SMBs lag behind in adoption of enterprise business applications

A new study reveals that SMBs are much slower to adopt enterprise-wide business applications than their larger counterparts.

A new study reveals that SMBs are much slower to adopt enterprise business applications than their larger counterparts.

The study, conducted by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc., found that the smaller the company is, the less likely it is using customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other large applications.

Laurie McCabe, AMI's vice president of SMB insights and business solutions, said that while SMB executives recognize the value of improving business processes, many aren't sure if the CRM and ERP offerings available to them today would help them achieve this goal.

"My take is that it's really because a lot of the solutions that are designed for these customers just aren't there," McCabe said. "The big vendors are all of course trying to go down, but a lot of times you can't fit a square peg into a round hole."

AMI reports that just 5% of small businesses (those with fewer than 100 employees) and only 12% of medium businesses (those with 100-999 employees) make use of CRM software. That figure rises to 54% when looking at larger companies.

The gulf gets even bigger when looking at ERP and supply chain management software. The study concluded that 3% of small business, and 11% of medium businesses use such applications. Among larger companies, the figure is 60%.

McCabe said that even among what her company calls Tier 1 SMBs -- those that view IT most strategically -- adoption of enterprise software is modest at best.

"These SMBs really understand the importance of streamlining business processes, but they're not buying these packages (from the large vendors)" McCabe said. "It's just overkill for them."

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