I recently spoke with Urs Renggli, Director of Worldwide Small & Midmarket Business for HP. Urs’ challenge is helping mid sized small businesses optimize their use of technology while recognizing that their needs are quite different than smaller and larger businesses. As your business grows, it’s important to recognize when your smaller business grows into a mid size business.
HP defines mid market as employee size from100 – 1,000 employee. Of course a business with 75 employees can more identify with a mid-size business than what might traditionally be defined as a small size business.
Urs explained to me that the IT environment of a mid size business is going to have at least 1 or 2 dedicated IT staff. This is often times more dedicated staff than a smaller business but considerably less than a typical “large” business.
In a study HP commissioned, AMI USA found the following trends in mid sized businesses
- The fastest growing areas of IT spending during 2007-2012 will be storage, security and network products.
- Midsize businesses in America are larger and have more branches than their EMEA and APAC counterparts. However, midsize businesses in EMEA are planning to add branches more aggressively in the next 12 months than any other region – and this is expected to lead to additional IT spending in the area.
- Technology scalability and making sure these technology solutions are part of the overall business strategy and processes are becoming top IT decision making factors across midsize businesses worldwide (more than 70%).
If you are finding that your small business is growing into a mid-size business you must ensure that you are managing your IT needs differently. Your IT infrastructure, on all levels, must grow with your business.
For example, although smaller businesses have competition the competition only increases in mid market. Urs 3 design principles for mid-market includes:
1. Mid-market IT folk are often generalists and not IT specialists. They want simple solutions that can take the burden off their shoulders from a hardware and software perspective
2. Reliability and management are important and top priority for mid market businesses. The products they purchase can’t be cheap, upgraded versions of consumer products, but products that are reliable.
3. Like all smaller businesses, affordability is still important. No company wants to spend more than they need to and wants as lean a budget as possible.
Urs advice for small businesses that are growing to mid sized businesses is that you:
- Must have an IT infrastructure in place as your business grows.
- It’s critical that you look at IT as an ability to grow and drive your business.
- Don’t let other people manage your IT without you knowing what is happening
- Ensure that as you grow your IT infrastructure can support it
- Restrain costs and go after new customers
Two technologies that mid sized businesses should consider investing in are blade technologies and SAN storage solutions.
What are blades? From blade.org: They consolidate power and system level functions into a single, integrated chassis and enable the addition of servers and other components such as communications and peripheral connections via easy to install blades. Blade server technology greatly increases server density, lowers power and cooling costs, eases server expansion and simplifies datacenter management.
According to WikiPedia SAN’s are defined as: In information technology, a storage area network (SAN) is an architecture to attach remote computer storage devices (such as disk arrays, tape libraries and optical jukeboxes) to servers in such a way that, to the operating system, the devices appear as locally attached.
Check out HP’s web site for mid sized business here.
Check our Urs’ own blog here.