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    SMB & Midmarket Analytics & Artificial Intelligence Adoption
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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Techaisle data shows channel transformation has been challenging and split in the middle

Channel is okay. Channel is not okay. The answer depends upon whose perspective you listen to, how they define channels and how they are measuring channel transformation. Techaisle studied 814 US channel partners with revenue ranging from US$500K to US$50M and number of employees from 9 to 1200. Measured against 12 points of Techaisle’s channel transformation imperatives, only 5 percent of partners are nearing completion of their transformation journey. Data also shows that the channel transformation is split right in the middle. 52 percent of partners are transformation followers and 48 percent are transformation leaders. 45 percent of partners are in initial stages of transformation working on an average of 5.3 of the 12 imperatives.

Most vendors including Microsoft, SAP, IBM, Cisco and distributors such as Ingram Micro are focusing their efforts in helping their partners transform their business models but the channel has been slow to adapt to rapidly changing environment.

Let us discuss three areas that are priorities for IT suppliers, where channel is falling short and what is Techaisle’s recommended transformation timeline.

  1. Transforming from "sales quotas" to "book of business" - whole customer
  2. Transforming from "value addition" to "value creation", - business performance
  3. Transforming from "lead generation" to digital discovery" - reducing reliance
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Google Anthos - a big deal for the midmarket - if a partner strategy emerges

Today, at Cloud Next 2019 in San Francisco, Google’s annual industry conference, Google announced its Cloud Services Platform, Anthos, for managing hybrid clouds that span on-premise and cloud data centers, and across multi-cloud environments. It is a big deal. It uses Kubernetes to enable migration across environments, is hardware agnostic, supports Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, and is subscription-based with a starting list price of $10,000/month per 100 vCPU block.

There is a thought that Anthos is a shot across the bows of AWS and Azure – and certainly, an approach that abstracts functionality from underlying cloud architecture will impinge on the ‘data gravity’ customer retention approach being used by these vendors. But IBM is at risk with Anthos as well, as the positive reception of its recent Red Hat acquisition is rooted in the promise of a single-vendor approach to providing hybrid and multi-cloud management and orchestration capabilities.

Clearly, Anthos has been developed with large enterprises as the target segment; some enterprise accounts are already early beta customers. To ease the addition of cloud as a core infrastructure platform in these accounts (by simplifying migration across in-premise and cloud environments) Google introduced Anthos Migrate, a service which will auto-migrate VMs from on-premise or other clouds into containers in the Google Kubernetes Engine.

It’s important to note, though, that hybrid cloud management is not only a point of pain within enterprise customers – it is a challenge (and arguably, a more acute issue) within midmarket (100-999 employees) firms. Consider these stats from Techaisle study of 510 US midmarket firms:

  • 52% of midmarket firms are using multi-cloud
  • 45% of midmarket firms have hybrid cloud environments
  • 38% of midmarket firms are using multiple public cloud providers for IaaS and PaaS
  • 27% of midmarket firms are planning to adopt G-Suite
  • 25% of midmarket firms are challenged by how to migrate from one cloud platform to another
  • 18% of midmarket cloud workloads are on hybrid clouds

Data for Europe and Asia/Pacific also very interesting current and planned adoption percentages for hybrid/multi-cloud.

The multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud journey began within midmarket firms much before it became fashionable within enterprises.

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SaaS delivering digital automation for US SMBs and Midmarket – forecast to spend USD26B in 2019

Techaisle’s US SMB and Midmarket SaaS adoption trend data shows that 73 percent of small businesses (1-99 employees) and 97 percent of midmarket firms (100-999 employees) are using one or more SaaS application categories. 37 percent of SMBs (1-999 employees) are using < 5 SaaS categories, however, 28 percent are using more than 10 SaaS categories (driven by midmarket firms). Overall 72 percent of SMBs are currently using 10 or less SaaS application categories but planned adoption indicates there is room to grow for the SaaS market within the SMB segment. The pace of SaaS automation is being governed by business & IT challenges, security posture, deployment and integration capability and point of purchase. Initial SaaS adoption has been for non-core business processes; however, 57 percent of mature adopters are using SaaS for core business processes. Techaisle survey data also shows that 64 percent of SMBs are using collaboration-focused SaaS solutions and 60 percent finance focused, however, future plans indicate that 62 percent will use customer-focused SaaS solutions.

As per Techaisle, US SMB and midmarket firms are forecast to spend US$25.6 billion on SaaS solutions in 2019.

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WW SMB and Midmarket analytics adoption acceleration needs external services

Techaisle’s latest US, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Latin America SMB and Midmarket Analytics and Artificial Intelligence adoption trends survey research shows that although 73% of midmarket firms (100-999 employees) and 10% of small businesses (1-99 employees) are using analytics (weighted data), only 6% of small businesses and 27% of midmarket firms are highly data-driven, that is, they have an evidence-driven culture, in which data helps defines requirements or opportunities thus enabling SMB executives to determine the best option for moving forward. Majority of SMB, 54%, are rarely data-driven and rely primarily on the insights and expertise of the senior management. Nevertheless, within the next one year, 23% of small businesses plan to adopt analytical solutions beyond spreadsheets and overall 30% of small businesses plan to engage with an external professional services firms to understand how they could provide assistance to deploy advanced analytics solutions. Cloud-based analytics is being used by 57% of midmarket firms and as compared to only 14% of small business but the intent to use within small businesses is significantly high at 48%.

Within 31% of midmarket firms, IT is being challenged with demand for increased analytics. As a result, overall 35% of midmarket firms are planning to engage with professional services firms to help develop and prepare data management systems, techniques and technology.

The whole product for analytics starts with cloud. 37% of SMBs consider cloud to be an essential analytics technology but when drilled down into midmarket firms, data reveals that 30% of midmarket firms believe that large scale local storage and fast processing infrastructure is necessary for deep analytics implementation.

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