New research from Techaisle released today shows a widening gap between the approaches small businesses are taking in their post-pandemic digital transformations, with those embracing SD-WAN outpacing their less advanced competitors by a margin of 122%.

U.S. SMBs will spend US$268 billion on technology in 2021, according to Techaisle. Out of a total of 5.4 million commercial SMBs, 68% are actively investing in digital transformation technologies and 55% have accelerated their investments in digital technologies.

According to the study, network unreliability, resulting in failing applications and lack of adoption, is a clear pain point for SMBs as they align their businesses with the emerging requirements of the post-pandemic world.

The global IT market research and analyst organization surveyed and interviewed IT leaders to better understand the challenges small and medium size businesses face and how they can successfully prepare themselves for the 'next normal.'

Connectivity, it said, will play a critical link in unlocking digital opportunities and potential. The study found that nearly 90% of SMBs believe that proactive, consistent network management aimed at delivering ideal performance is either important or very important.

Despite its importance, connectivity-related issues take up almost half (47%) of an SMB's IT time. 

“Networks consume scarce IT resources,” said Techaisle founder Anurag Agrawal. “What we learned is that small business owners must proactively embrace digital transformation to support their new digital business practices, which comes with its own challenges. The good news is, many SMBs are also discovering there are technologies like SD-WAN that can help them address these challenges.”

SMBs that have established holistic approaches to digital transformation are achieving higher growth and profitability than those who approach digital transformation as individual initiatives, a release stated.

The study, entitled Thriving in the 'Next Normal': Digital transformation, post-pandemic business success and the importance of SD-WAN, also revealed that SMBs that are using SD-WAN are more advanced in their digital transformation status than those who are still relying on older-generation networking technologies.

“SMBs that are holistic or inclusive in their approach to digital transformation are 232% more likely to be using or actively planning to use SD-WAN than less advanced peers. Within two years, 56% of midsized businesses in the U.S. will have deployed SD-WAN,” it said. 

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