Signs point to a continued investment in IT spending on the part of small and mid-sized businesses. The recently released bi-annual State of SMB IT Report from Spiceworks, the world’s largest IT pro community, indicates the average annual SMB IT budget is $162,000, up from $152,000 reported in  May. At the same time, survey respondents, which included 1,356 IT professionals in 100 countries, report a four percent decline (from 31 percent to 27 percent) in plans to hire IT staff in the second half of the year.

It also turns out that on the average, small and mid-sized companies spend considerably more on technology per employee than larger organizations. Companies with less than 20 employees spend $1900 on average per employee compared with $700 per employee spent by companies with 250 employees or more.

Where is SMB IT spending going?

Hardware, software and IT services, allocations for the second half of the year remain the same as the first half. Hardware continues to get the greatest share of projected spending at 40 percent of overall budgets followed by software at 34 percent and IT services at 26 percent.

The survey indicates a rising adoption of tablets.  As purchases of desktops and laptops level off, tablet purchases are growing from 30 percent in the first half of the year to 38 percent in the second. Furthermore, 53 percent of survey respondents expressed support for company-issued tablets on their network, with an additional 12 percent planning support during the first half of 2013.

Other survey findings indicate that cloud service use is up. Among SMB IT departments, 62 percent use cloud services, up 35 percent from the previous year. Web hosting, email hosting and data backup/recovery are the most popular web-based services.

On the issue of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), 59 percent of respondents have an initiative and support employee-owned mobile devices on their network. SMBs with less than 20 employees are most likely to fully embrace BYOD with nearly three-quarters highlighting an ongoing initiative.

The Spiceworks State of SMB IT survey is conducted twice annually to investigate the latest technology purchasing, usage and staffing trends among companies with less than 1,000 employees. The survey owas conducted during the third quarter of 2012 through Spiceworks’ Voice of IT® market insights program.

Do the Spiceworks survey findings map to your plans for the coming year?