What are key difference in the way SMEs and big companies buy IT solutions?


I am looking for reports/articles/research on how SMEs and big companies differ in their approach for finding and buying IT solutions. I would expect that ROI and the cost of the ownership play bigger role for SME than for bigger companies -- which most offen have more cash and look more for, e.g., easy integration of the new IT solution with their exiting IT landscape.

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asked Jul 3 '11 at 21:50
106 points
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  • I've always known SME to mean subject matter expert, aka a lead tech or consultant. But since they tend to work for the big companies, I'm not sure this question makes sense, or perhaps Skarab is thinking of some other acronym. – B Mitch 13 years ago
  • Perhaps Skarab means SMB, Small and Medium size Businesses? – B Mitch 13 years ago
  • SME = Small/Medium enterprises, the meaning is the same as SMB – Skarab 13 years ago

1 Answer


[ I'm going to answer with the assumption you meant SMB, not SME. ]

Small and medium size businesses (SMB's) tend to be acquiring a product to fix a problem with their business processes since. They are still growing, and the old systems didn't grow with them. On a per customer basis, saving x% per transaction will be difficult to notice, but freeing up 10 hours of an employee's time per week will make a huge difference.

For enterprise businesses, all that money is counted at the end of the quarter and a small difference shows up with happy or upset shareholders. Saving a small % per transaction results in a significant return because of the scale of the company. Reducing the time for employees to perform a task will either be a significant savings spread across the company, or of course it could also mean laying off people that are now redundant. They should already have a well established business process, so you have to show an ROI to prove that your process is better or will save them money somehow.

So to answer your question, I think it's reversed. SMB's care about seeing some kind of benefit from your product, and enterprises care about the ROI.

answered Jul 3 '11 at 23:17
B Mitch
1,342 points

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