Small Business Computer Consulting Blog

Computer Consulting Business Market Vetted by The Wall Street Journal

Posted by Joshua Feinberg

Feb 28, 2012 8:01:00 AM

Computer Consulting Business Market Vetted by The Wall Street JournalIs the computer consulting business market as exciting as headline-grabbing IPOs? This is probably not the case on most days.

But one day a few weeks ago, the little-known part of the IT industry that keeps small businesses humming got some ink in one of the world’s most prestigious dailies.

Move over Facebook, Apple, and Google. Another lesser-known part of the IT industry has captured the attention of The Wall Street Journal.

Market for Outsourced IT in the Spotlight

In “Small IT Market Attracts Big Companies,” Sarah E. Needleman introduces some of the more popular IT support options frequently called on by small businesses that lack in-house IT departments.

Needleman, who’s been a reporter for Dow Jones since 2001, covers small business issues.

As you can likely tell from the article title, the story emphasized the “big” companies chasing after the computer consulting business market. These include:

  • Apple Inc., including a recent partnership with OnForce Services Inc. and its JointVenture program that’s run by Apple employees primarily in Apple retail stores

  • AT&T Inc.

  • Best Buy Co., especially given its recent acquisition of Mindshift Technologies Inc.

  • International Business Machines Corp.

  • Staples Inc.

Bullish Outlook on the 'Small' IT Market

For any owners of computer consulting businesses, VARs, IT solution providers, computer repair businesses, system builders, or MSPs that doubt the health of the IT market, despite a down economy, Needleman explains that “the use of external IT support among small businesses is exploding.”

And within the same article, Needleman cited a recent CompTIA, Inc. survey where 71 percent of small- and medium-sized U.S.-based businesses said they planned to increase their annual IT budgets by an annualized average of 5.2 percent.

While the article does have a one paragraph mention about cloud computing, the piece is clearly more about the computer consulting business market itself rather than the individual platforms or technologies used to deliver services.

Small IT Companies Downplayed But Still Mentioned

Needleman also devoted three paragraphs to the much smaller, independently-owned companies and individual IT consultants that have historically, albeit in a fragmented fashion, dominated the “small” IT market.

However you needn’t worry that the small computer consulting businesses, VARs, IT solution providers, computer repair businesses, system builders, and MSPs were under-represented in the article. Many of these owners chimed in quite vocally in the comments section that followed Needleman’s article.

(Editor’s Note: If you own a small IT company and need some help competing with these “big companies”, see How a Computer Consulting Business Can Take on National Competitors.)

Why Needleman’s Article was So Significant and Important to a Largely Under-Rated Part of the IT Industry

In the end though, for a mainstream general business publication, Needleman did an admirable job researching, vetting, and explaining the inner-workings of what’s historically been a pretty fragmented market.

While publications like Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine do regularly cover more tactical, how-to small business tech advice, it’s pretty unusual for the computer consulting business market to get this much attention outside of the IT channel trade publications like Business Solutions Magazine, CRN, ChannelPro-SMB, and Redmond Channel Partner.

As I explained in my own Comments following the article, Needleman has “…done a great service to help non-technical small business owners grasp the dynamics of all the different players involved in delivering outsourced IT services to small businesses…(making) it a LOT easier for owners of small business technology providers (VARs, MSPs, IT consultants, network integrators, system builders, and computer repair shops) to explain their value proposition to prospects, customers, clients, partners, and employees.”

What do you think about Needleman’s article? Did it accurately portray the computer consulting business market? And if you own one of the smaller IT companies that got about 10 percent of the “ink” in the article, how are you competing against the “big companies” featured in the article? Please share your thoughts in the COMMENTS below.

Creative Commons Image Source: flickr pansonaut

Topics: computer consulting business