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US SMB and Midmarket Orchestration and Integration trends

Techaisle latest research US SMB & Midmarket Orchestration, Automation & Integration trends shows that roughly two-thirds of midmarket firms are using or planning to use hybrid cloud and nearly 90% of midmarket firms using/planning to use hybrid consider orchestration tools to be “critical” or “very important”.

In today’s multi-platform world, orchestration, automation and integration are non-optional components of a functioning IT environment. The number of possible connections between systems and data sources expand logarithmically with each new platform; as IT workloads migrate (or are born) in new cloud, hosted, virtual or conventional systems, IT managers need to establish processes for connecting, balancing and optimizing systems that aren’t bottlenecked by requirements for operator intervention.

Despite the clear and immediate requirement for orchestration, automation and integration, there is little current and reliable data available on adoption and usage trends, especially within the small and midmarket business segment. To address this gap, Techaisle conducted a survey of 1,076 US-based SMBs, quota sampled to ensure statistically-reliable representation for two small business segments (20-49 and 50-99) and three midmarket segments (100-249, 250-499, 500-999). By applying attitudinal segmentation within each e-size category, capturing information on current cloud and digitalization status and probing for orchestration and automation plans and activities, Techaisle is able to deliver a unique perspective on the current state and directions of orchestration and automation within the US SMB & Midmarket.

Research presented in the report, which addresses the general topic of IT orchestration, is focused on three major issues:

  • Cloud workload orchestration: orchestrating workloads and associated processes across hybrid environments
  • Cloud application/data orchestration and integration: SMB requirements for services supporting hybrid business applications/processes
  • Supplier requirements, gaps and opportunities: market feedback and Techaisle evaluation of the offerings that will position suppliers as orchestration leaders in the SMB segment

Highlights from the findings presented in this report include:

  • SMBs using cloud generally use multiple different approaches to cloud workload management: the average is nearly two different responses per firm. For the most part, SMBs avoid a “set it and forget it” approach of assigning workloads to a specific set of resources. Instead, they react to capacity alerts or make selective use of automation for workload management and data migration.
  • Within small business, the sum of “fully automated” and “partially orchestrated” processes does not rise as high as 30% for any of the 13 categories covered in the research – but it ranges from 36%-53% within the midmarket. Across all categories, midmarket firms are roughly twice to have fully or partially orchestrated/automated cloud processes as their small business peers.
  • Security is a key focus of SMB orchestration efforts. Within both the small business and midmarket segments, respondents have invested in fully or partially orchestrating security. Security interest is particularly high in the midmarket, with 88% of respondents reporting that they have fully orchestrated, partially orchestrated or plan to orchestrate responses to security threats.
  • Orchestration on the whole appears poised to ramp up rapidly, with midmarket firms reporting new plans in an average of 3.6 (of the 13) categories captured by the research, and small businesses planning an average of 1.6 new automation areas within the year.
  • 95% of midmarket firms are integrating cloud-based and on-premise systems, and 59% of SMBs using cloud (56% of small businesses, 63% of midmarket organizations) are integrating devices with on-premise systems today. In most other areas, such as integration of data across applications and integration of cloud-based business applications, midmarket firms are more aggressive than small business peers in pursuing cross-platform integration.
  • Cost overruns, complexity and a shortage of IT skills on staff are the ‘big three’ integration obstacles for SMBs. Techaisle notes that these challenges provide interesting potential marketing input to orchestration suppliers.
  • A comparison of buy-side data with perspectives gained from a companion survey of channel members finds that demand exceeds supply for integration of cloud and on-premise integration, while supply exceeds demand for integration of communications and collaboration systems and for integration of cloud-based business applications, and to a lesser extent, for integration of mobility solutions.
  • Relatively few partners have focused their cloud practices on integration service delivery. Channel members report that they provide services needed for effective adoption of cloud, while just 6% state that they are primarily integrators of cloud-based systems.
  • Techaisle believes that mismatches between channel positioning as supporters of cloud adoption and customer focus on advanced services will become less pronounced over time, as the supplier community finds success in new integration-oriented service offerings – and that this transition signals a real opportunity for suppliers of orchestration/ automation tools who can provide a programmatic bridge from a lack of core competence in cloud/on-premise and cloud/cloud integration to an ability to meet an expressed and growing need for integration support.
  • Techaisle channel research shows that the top four partner ‘asks’ are incentives, advisory services, support and training – and that advice on advanced topics like (and specifically including) orchestration is important to the partner community.

 

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