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June 21, 2011
By Dan Berthiaume
The market for hosted business intelligence (BI) technology among small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in the US is expected to reach $500 million by 2015, according to a recent AMI-Partners study. This reflects an anticipated 25% growth in spending by SMBs on BI software included as part of an SaaS bundle. We’re not aware of too many MSPs focused on business intelligence… but perhaps it’s time for MSPs to give the growing market a look.
And the good news doesn’t stop with BI software delivered through an SaaS platform. Study findings also indicate that among SMBs deploying infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and/or unified communications (UC) offerings, more than one-third are interested in including BI as part of the bundle. This makes interest in hosted BI by these SMB technology users second only to interest in hosted CRM, where the interest level is approximately 37%.
Cloud Momentum Drives Interest
AMI-Partners credits this growing interest in hosted BI among SMBs to growing cloud momentum, which in turn is attributed to factors such as growing ubiquity of broadband, mobility and smart devices, which have collectively raised the level of data and application access, collaboration and interest in cloud services.
Get Your Head in the Clouds
So what does this all mean to the MSP who targets SMBs as clients? First, it means if you are not already delivering technology and services via the cloud, start doing so. Preferably yesterday. In a few short years, cloud computing has gone from something only large, distributed enterprises had interest in to something that will soon become a de facto way for even small enterprises to support their IT infrastructures.
BI is a complex set of analytical technologies that requires great skill and knowhow to properly implement, execute and maintain. That’s why it’s a potential solution for MSPs to embrace. Most companies, especially SMBs, do not have the resources to develop an in-house BI practice. Developing a BI practice as an MSP is not inexpensive or easy, but can pay dividends down the road.
As a side note, it is worth keeping in mind that AMI-Partners focuses on providing go-to-market internet and IT services to SMBs, so results of the survey could be a little skewed. But the basic truth that hosted BI is a growing opportunity for MSPs who serve SMB clients is still there.
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