IDC Recognizes 16 Companies as Recipients of First IDC SMB Excellence Awards

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – November 12, 2009 – Despite a challenging economic climate worldwide, a number of technology product and service providers have been investing in innovative products and programs to meet the changing needs of small and medium-sized businesses. IDC has identified 16 firms that are doing an especially noteworthy job through a wide variety of product and marketing efforts. These firms are recipients of the IDC SMB Excellence Award.

Because the scope and nature of SMB initiatives vary widely and the firms being honored vary by size, geographic focus, and technology offered, the recipients are grouped into six broad areas of activity:

Market Segmentation/Customer Targeting – Cisco and Network Solutions have both looked at SMB customers in new and effective ways and have developed programs to meet the specific needs of key SMB groups.

Innovative Alliances – Two EMC companies, Decho and Iomega, are working together to provide bundled SMB storage capabilities in a flexible fashion. Similarly, Intuit and IBM have established a relationship that provides advanced access to Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions through IBM Smart Business platform technology.

Software-as-a-Service and Cloud Computing for SMBs – A number of firms have introduced appealing SMB solutions that leverage resources that are not based on premises: NetSuite Business Software Suite, Doyenz ShadowCloud, Telstra Business T-Suite and LogMeIn Rescue and Ignition for iPhone.

Streamlining/Enhancing Customer Engagement – The Oracle Accelerate, SAP Business All-in-One Fast Start, and Rogers Communications BusinessFirst Partner Programs are using new technology and approaches to simplify the technology acquisition process and better meet the needs of prospects looking for advanced solutions.

New Applications Approaches – SMBs have always been more interested in the benefits of technology than in technology itself. HP, through its MarketSplash program, and IBM, through its Express Advantage program, are approaching the market with effective customer-centric programs.

Technology Deployment – Innovative delivery and support of advanced technology have been introduced by AT&T with its small business InSite portal and AT&T SMART tool, Dell with its Vostro PCs and ProSupport Services, and Verizon with its Verizon FiOS Internet for Business broadband solution for SMBs.

Raymond Boggs, vice president of Small/Medium Business Research, noted that IDC will continue to identify and recognize exceptional efforts of firms engaging the SMB market: "Moving forward, we expect the creativity and initiative shown by the first group of IDC SMB Excellence Award recipients will be echoed in the activities of other innovators." Boggs also observed that while the focus on changing customer needs and innovative technology deployment will be at the heart of SMB excellence in general, four themes will likely emerge as particularly important in distinguishing noteworthy SMB efforts: leveraging cloud and SaaS capabilities, capitalizing on new alliances, sharpening the focus on specific SMB groups, and delivering more effective technology support.

Nominations for IDC SMB Excellence Awards were made by IDC technology and SMB analysts worldwide, with final selections made on the basis of three key criteria:

1. The nominated firm offers products and/or programs specifically targeted to address the unique needs of SMB firms. Products or programs must be available in the marketplace (beta products were not considered).

2. The products or programs must have important implications for the nominated firm: opening up new market areas, expanding portfolio appeal, or addressing customers in ways that have the potential to increase the company's market relevance.

3. The nominated firm's activities must have competitive implications. In effect, other technology firms could learn from the approach to refine their own efforts to address the SMB market.

The recently published document, 2009 IDC SMB Excellence Awards – Innovative Product , Marketing, Support and Promotions Products to Enhance Customer Appeal and Competitive Success (IDC #220604), profiles the SMB initiatives of the 16 award-winning companies. A description of each initiative is provided as well as an analysis of why it is important to SMB customers and what competitors can learn. Each description is accompanied by additional comments from an IDC analyst.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 45 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

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