Cloud computing is sweeping through a range of industries and enterprises, but the trend is particularly strong among small and medium businesses -- a key customer segment for many MSPs.
It’s easy to see why. The IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) delivery model lets smaller companies adopt a range of solutions with little upfront cost. The off-premise, cloud-based approach also lowers ongoing operating expenses, since the technology is hosted offsite. The customer can escape the tech refresh treadmill. ITaaS also helps an SMB focus limited resources on its main business: there’s no need to assign technology management chores to already overstretched employees.
SMBs increasingly rely on cloud services to meet their IT requirements. The 2013 Parallels Global SMB Cloud Insights report underscores the cloud-ward march of smaller businesses. According to Parallels’ research, the global SMB market for hosted services totaled $45.2 billion as of late 2012. The SMB cloud services market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 28 percent over the next three years, expanding to $95.7 billion by late 2015, the report stated.
Parallels breaks down the cloud market into four sectors: Infrastructure as a Service ($31.3 billion), web presence and web applications ($16.3 billion), hosted communication and collaboration ($14.3 billion), and business applications ($33.8 billion).
As for applications, email often marks a business’ initial foray into ITaaS. But the cloud story typically doesn’t end there. Other important cloud-based apps for SMBs include backup/disaster recovery, file sharing, human resources. and firewall protection.
Trusted Advisor Role
SMBs face a dizzying array of choices when it comes to consuming cloud-based technology. The options seem to increase from one day to the next. That’s where MSPs come in. Service providers, having built close relationships with customers, can serve as trusted advisors. They can help clients select cloud services that provide the best value for their investment.
MSPs as cloud advisors should keep the following factors in mind:
- More than anything, SMB customers expect simplicity and value from managed IT offerings.
- Customers want to access to all their business-critical applications without the burden of supporting an on-premise IT infrastructure.
- SMBs expect to pay only for what they use in a cost-predictable, pay-as-you-go model.
- Smaller firms prefer to purchase bundled solutions.
A Cloud Boost For MSPs
The Dell Service Provider Program helps MSPs become one-stop shops for their customers’ cloud needs. Dell’s goal is to work with MSPs to help their clients transform the way they work, abstracting and automating complex technologies in a simple to consume, click-together ITaaS approach.
To that end, Dell SMBessentials has identified a set of core software capabilities that service providers can offer customers. Here are a few examples:
- Migration of Exchange on demand to Office 365 and hosted email platforms
- Backup and recovery to physical servers or virtual machines
- Desktop and application virtualization
- Virtual infrastructure monitoring covering physical and virtual infrastructure
- Remote firewall protection
Dell also supports MSPs with a new service provider automation platform and a flexible payment program that aligns with the recurring revenue model. MSPs simply pay on a monthly basis for the cloud services they provide their customers. They can expand and scale as needed. The emphasis is on cloud services, but Dell can still accommodate traditional product sourcing. If an MSP’s customer needs a software license and hardware, Dell makes those items available a la carte or through a bundled package.
To learn more about MSPe visit www.dell.com/partner/serviceprovider
Interested in hearing more about the Dell Service Provider program? Join us for our 3 part webcast series: Simplifying IT for the SMB
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