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Picking the best IT infrastructure and tech vendor for your company is taxing in normal times, but it’s even rifer with challenges during a global pandemic. That’s what many small and medium businesses faced last year when COVID-19 caused them to accelerate digital transformation initiatives, software deployments and tech spends.

This is no easy task; as an organization’s technology stack could mean the difference between operating a successful, innovative company or a struggling, unsustainable one. TechRepublic Premium wanted to find out how SMBs build their perfect technology infrastructure. So they conducted a survey and compared the results to a similar survey from last year. 

SEE: Research: COVID-19 causes SMBs to increase IT deployment and spending (available free for TechRepublic Premium subscribers)

COVD-19 has impacted IT deployment and spending for 46% of respondents and affected the types of services SMBs tried, tested or experimented with over the last 12 months. In the previous year, only 27% experimented with Zoom, but that number rose to 60% in 2021.

Consistent with last year’s survey, SMBs continue to use Microsoft Office 365 (56%), Microsoft Azure (43%), and Amazon AWS (43%). However, the number of respondents who experimented and tested Google Cloud Platform (28%) was down from the 33% that experimented with the platform last year.

It’s no surprise that SMBs are turning to cloud services for solutions. However, in 2021, 46% of respondents rely on internal on-premises systems, which is a stark decrease from the previous year’s response of 63%. Also in 2021, some 44% of respondents use a hybrid combination of internal and cloud servers, which is notably higher than the 2020 survey result of 39%. Furthermore, survey results show that 26% of respondents use more than one cloud service, which is up significantly from the 17% reported in 2020. 

The importance of fulfilling business needs has not changed much over the years. The 2021 survey reports that 45% of respondents believe fulfilling business needs is the most important factor when making decisions on IT deployment, which was the same sentiment reported in the 2020 survey.

The infographic below contains selected details from the research. To read more findings, plus analysis, download the full report: Research: COVID-19 causes SMBs to increase IT deployment and spending (available for TechRepublic Premium subscribers).