Small firms think big on the web

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Small firms think big on the web

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly taking advantage of the internet to improve internal efficiency and extend their reach, research reveals..

IDC said that, in response to this trend, technology providers are refining their offerings to help SMBs to "get online, sell online and market online".

The analyst firm identified Google, Microsoft and Yahoo as the leading companies to which SMBs without the luxury of dedicated IT departments turn to for internet resources.

The IDC study found that SMB use of different internet resource providers varies significantly across "attitude clusters", and that different providers have a different mix of SMB customers.

SMBs that use Microsoft for internet resources tend to be larger, while firms using Yahoo tend to be smaller.

Small firms using Microsoft spend more on average for internet resources, but this is not necessarily because of their larger size. In contrast, firms that use AOL spend the least.

"The opportunity for providers of online capabilities to SMBs worldwide will continue to grow in the years ahead, despite apparent industry consolidation," said Merle Sandler, research manager for IDC's SMB group.

"Alliances and relationships will be increasingly important, and industry players will have to continually enhance their value propositions."

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