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by CareyBot

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to increase their IT spending for 2004 by 6.6 percent over 2003, compared with a 1.7 percent increase among larger companies, according to new research from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research. Forrester surveyed more than 1,000 IT decision-makers at North American SMBs, which are defined as firms with fewer than 1,000 employees. Overall, SMBs are more optimistic about the future than their enterprise counterparts are, with 81 percent describing their current business climate as being at least moderately strong and 78 percent expecting more improvement by the end of the year. Manufacturing was the most optimistic sector, with 86 percent of SMBs expecting their industry to perform at least slightly better three quarters from now. IT deci...