Are MSPs Ready for Ultrabooks in Small Business?
For the past several years SMBs have been strongly moving toward mobilization of their operations, and judging by the results of a new Techaisle survey, that trend will accelerate in 2012. US SMBs are expected to purchase at least 3.6 million Ultrabook PCs in 2012, meaning one in five PCs shipped to SMBs this year will be Ultrabooks. And while only 23% of SMBs are aware of Ultrabooks, 65 percent of those aware have shown intent to purchase.
Ultrabooks are expected to dominate the spotlight at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (International CES 2012, Jan. 10-13, Las Vegas). While the term “Ultrabook” is technically a trademarked term referring to a class of high-end, extremely thin and lightweight laptop PCs using Intel processors, some folks us it more broadly to describe other portable computers fitting this general description, such as MacBook Air.
Considering that the Techaisle survey only covers purchase plans for Ultrabooks featuring Intel processors, it is likely that the number of high-end, ultra-lightweight portable computers shipping to SMBs this year will actually be well more than 3.6 million.
Why should MSPs serving the SMB marketplace care about the form factor of mobile technology SMBs choose to use this year? Because the choice speaks volumes about their mobile intentions. Ultrabooks allow SMBs to offer their employees full PC access to the corporate enterprise from any remote spot, with all the features and functions of a more cumbersome laptop or notebook.
And Intel’s partners are pricing Ultrabooks at less than $1,000, meaning SMBs can potentially provide their entire staff with the portable devices, potentially eliminating a significant amount of physical infrastructure and overhead relating to costs such as office space.
MSPs and Ultrabooks
Naturally, the process of converting an SMB enterprise to a remote network based on Ultrabooks is not as simple as handing the devices out to employees and providing users with logins. Like any other mobile migration, moving employees onto Ultrabooks requires developing rigorous security and monitoring capabilities, as well as development and maintenance of a robust and sophisticated mobile network that can adequately support all the activities once supported by an internal business network.
For the most part, SMBs lack the in-house knowledge and resources performing this type of network requires, and they are not likely to receive the type of support they need from their Ultrabook vendor. MSPs are in a perfect position to provide managed services to solve these mobility issues for SMBs who want to create an “ultra-mobile” enterprise. Sounds like an ultra-intriguing prospect, doesn’t it?