Just one fifth of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) in the EMEA region plan to hire more IT staff in the next six months, while tablet and cloud adoption lags behind other regions such as the US, according to figures from IT management vendor Spiceworks.
Spiceworks, which provides a systems management, inventory and help desk platform, gleaned the figures from a bi-annual global survey of its users, about a quarter of which are based in Europe.
The Spiceworks platform is popular with firms in the SMB segment, as it is free to use and is combined with a social networking function that allows IT professionals to exchange tips and other information.
Spiceworks unveiled version 6.0 of its platform earlier this year, adding the ability to detect and manage cloud services being used across the network.
In its findings published in a State of SMB report, Spiceworks disclosed that firms in EMEA have a lower budget than other areas, typically the US, by an average of $11,000. And those planning to recruit new IT staff in the near future has fallen to 20 percent, down from 28 percent earlier this year.
Hardware purchases still account for the lion's share of the SMB IT budget at 40 percent of spend, with software on 34 percent and services 26 percent, breakdown that reflects the situation across the globe.
As far as cloud computing goes, adoption among European SMBs has grown from 45 percent to 53 percent over the past six months, and is expected to hit 65 percent early next year, with the most common services being adopted comprising web and email hosting, data backup and recovery, plus content filtering.
Meanwhile, virtualisation is starting to creep into this sector of the market, with 22 percent of SMBs already using virtual desktops, while another 18 percent are planning to start virtualising desktops in the next six months.
On the mobile side, just 41 percent of EMEA SMBs have adopted tablets, while 59 percent are managing smartphones, both figures set to increase.
Apple tablets and phones are in use at over 70 percent of respondents, with Android a close second at over 60 percent, while 45 percent are still using BlackBerry smartphones.
According to Spiceworks, 56 percent of EMEA SMBs are supporting the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, although almost a third of respondents believe BYOD works well for some devices but not for others, while 26 percent feel the trend is a headache for their departments.
Overall, Spiceworks said that the results are positive, with SMB uptake of technologies showing a slow but steady growth.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.