Compiled ByFrank R. Chloupek According to a study released by consulting firm Access Markets International Partners Inc. (AMI), spending on enterprise software by the 7 million U.S. small and medium businesses (SMBs) was more than $1.3 billion in the last 12 months, an increase of 21% year over year. Enterprise software covers applications in sales force automation (SFA), customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM). The number of SMBs using at least one of these software applications increased 114% to over 1 million between the second quarter of 2001 and the second quarter of 2002. "The U.S. SMB market has now entered a sustainable high-growth phase of business process automation development," notes Deepinder Sahni, vice president at AMI, New York. AMI forecasts a 33% average annual growth over the next four years, with the total spending reaching $4.2 billion in 2006. Enterprise software usage was greatest in the manufacturing sector, with 19% of manufacturing SMBs using SFA and/or CRM applications and 29% using ERP and/or SCM applications.