SMBs benefit from the web

Research conducted by ACNielsen on behalf of eBay shows that the internet can have dramatic results for those that join the knowledge economy.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  April 12, 2004

Although the majority of Middle East governments have dedicated both time and resources to getting small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) online, many smaller companies remain dedicated to their offline heritage. However, recent research conducted by ACNielsen on behalf of eBay shows that the internet can have dramatic results for those that join the knowledge economy. Of those SMBs that participated in the survey, 50% of smaller companies reported that the internet equals profits. A further 15% of SMBs said that they wouldn’t even have a company without the web. Furthermore, 51% of survey participants indicated that the internet has improved their profitability, while 58% reported that the web has helped their businesses grow or expand. This dedication to the web presents a huge opportunity for vendors targeting the segment, which a growing number of vendors are doing as the enterprise market becomes increasingly saturated. If software vendors are to tap into this potentially lucrative segment though, Meta Group believes the industry’s key players will have to modify their business models and product lines. However, the vendors are not the only ones that need to change as the software landscape changes. Meta Group suggests that the SMBs will have to hone their negotiating skills if they are to cope with and get the best deals from vendors. For instance, the analyst house says SMBs must adapt their negotiating skills to include an understanding of flaws and thereby get the best deals from vendors that offer complete or partial software, services, and maintenance proposals. “It is important for SMB buyers to leverage the interest in their market and negotiate maintenance agreements based on ‘as sold’ prices, or contract deliverables in return for their business,” says Carl Lehmann, vice president with Meta Group’s technology research services.

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