You can’t dictate which tools your employees use

Which applications are best for scaling a business from a tiny startup to an enterprise powerhouse? And how do you get your employees to use them? For most companies, success will come from adopting those which are easiest to use, and which employees are already using.

Spiceworks Picks Up $25M to Build Facebook for IT

Spiceworks has raised a $25 million fourth round of funding from Adams Capital and Tenaya Capital to continue building out a community of IT professionals that use the Spiceworks software to monitor their companies’ networks. That community is like a Facebook for IT.

Small Biz So Far Not So Crazy About the Cloud

Many companies are slashing budgets to improve the bottom line — or at least postponing purchases until later — but not all. Thirty-nine percent of small and medium businesses reported budget cuts this year, averaging a 22 percent reduction in IT funding, according to Spiceworks’ annual survey of SMB tech departments released this morning. However, 31 percent said budgets were flat year over year, and 30 percent saw their budgets increase in 2009, averaging 27 percent. Overall, IT spending was down barely 1 percent. Spiceworks polled 1,130 IT pro’s supporting companies with fewer than 500 employees. So, whether the budgets were smaller or larger, where was all the money going? Read More about Small Biz So Far Not So Crazy About the Cloud

Can ad-supported B-2-B software be as fun as iTunes?

Editor’s Note: It is no longer a new idea that innovation in the enterprise space is driven by creativity in the consumer space. (GigaOM guest columnist M.R. Rangaswami wrote about this last year.) Last week M.R’s own site, had a nice post with tips for how b-to-b startups can succeed with ad-supported models–even be “entertaining, like iTunes”! Winning with an Ad-Supported Model is authored by Scott Abel and Jay Hallberg, cofounders of Spiceworks, which sells free, ad-supported IT management software for small to medium-sized businesses.

Scott and Jay write:

In the past, enterprise software companies have thrived with a variety of business models. We should know: We’ve worked for a lot of them. [These include] software-as-a-service (SaaS), open source and others …

So when we set out to develop a software product that would be supported by an advertising revenue model, several experts urged caution. However, we believed that the “consumerization of the enterprise” – corporate adoption of consumer-like services and business models – would accelerate during this decade … [to include the free, ad-supported model]. Fast forward two years: Our product, the Spiceworks IT Desktop, has evolved to become what we call the “iTunes of IT” with a user base of 250,000, and we’ve added 50,000 new users in the past two months alone.

But the secret to succeeding with a free ad-supported software business has to do with far more than just advertising…and is not for the weak of heart. Read More about Can ad-supported B-2-B software be as fun as iTunes?