The majority of MSPs play in the small- and medium-business space. As the cloud becomes part of daily life, are SMBs ready to move their businesses to the cloud?
There are numerous research findings that point to cloud adoption by SMBs. (Just look at the popularity of Microsoft 365!) Here are some interesting findings from a 2011 report by Cisco Systems, “New Cisco IBSG Research Reveals Dramatic Growth in Cloud Interest Among SMBs”:
- SMBs’ awareness of cloud services has dramatically increased. Self-reported “full understanding” more than doubled from December 2009 to March 2011. Forty-five percent of SMBs with fewer than 250 employees are already using at least one cloud service.
- Nearly 50 percent of SMBs will spend more than one-third of their IT budgets on cloud and managed infrastructure services in 2013. (Folks, that’s this year!)
- There is high, pent-up demand for software as a service (SaaS) and managed infrastructure services. IaaS will grow 22 percent to 27 percent in the next two years!
- Security assurances and demonstrated business impact are the key buying factors for SMBs (and key barriers to adoption when not present).
- “Services tailored for SMBs” is the biggest driver of provider choice. SMBs find limited appeal in offers that don’t reflect an understanding of their businesses and the issues they face daily.
- SMBs look for cloud-based and managed infrastructure solutions—not standalone, technology-led offers—for everyday tasks.
- Service providers are well placed to take advantage of the SMB cloud opportunity.
What are SMBs going to do? So how are they going to choose from among the cloud offerings that are out there? Here are my predictions, based on everything I’ve read:
- SMBs will adopt backup and productivity apps first, so long as those offerings have the proper security.
- Service providers, software providers and tech hardware providers will be the most likely providers of cloud services.
- SMBs will select the provider who can offer relevant business apps with proper security with a minimum of hassle.
- The best way to attract their interest is by focusing your delivery on a solid business case and addressing their security needs at the same time.
- Finally, they will evaluate your offering based on your ability to meet their needs, address their security concerns and ability to provide it affordably. (Ultimately, no matter how much they say they value other features, price is still one of the biggest factors!)
The bottom line is that a large portion of the SMB market is ready to look at the cloud. As an MSP, you must look at becoming a CSP (Cloud Service Provider) yourself to stay in the game!
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