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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.

SMB Cloud CRM adoption journey points to accelerated digital transformation

Techaisle’s detailed SaaS adoption survey tracked the current and planned buying journey of cloud CRM, ERP and other SaaS applications within SMBs and Midmarket firms. Cloud orchestration & digital automation have become essential ingredients for business transformation. Techaisle analyzed the extent to which use/intended use of each of these cloud applications is connected with other applications and whether they are part of a conscious effort for digital transformation. The two sets of figures below show past and planned CRM and its adjacent SaaS applications adoption journey.

The research reveals a very stark difference between the past cloud CRM adoption journey and the intended path after adopting cloud CRM for the first time. The past adoption patterns were seemingly random reacting to a specific point of pain, but planned adoption is deliberate keeping in view the business issues & IT challenges and taking giant steps towards a connected digital business.

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For SMBs Connected Cloud SaaS applications really matter

Techaisle’s upcoming detailed survey report on US SMB & Midmarket SaaS Adoption Trends shows evidence that connected cloud applications really matter for SMBs. 16% of SMBs have already connected SaaS applications across the enterprise and another 10% are on their enterprise-wide connected SaaS journey. These SMBs are getting the benefits of business growth, enterprise agility, corporate efficiency, collaboration and alignment.

Cloud is the agility platform and SaaS offers a zero-friction option for automating processes. The first entry point to cloud in many SMBs is the purchase of a specific business application by a business user. A typical example is of SMB marketing acquiring a SaaS application to help with social presence management, or sales, as is often the case, acquiring a cloud based CRM to track opportunities. Each of these disconnected siloed SaaS applications do provide real & immediate benefits in terms of enhancing individual productivity and enhancing morale and helping with recruitment of tech savvy new workers. However, where cloud starts to differentiate itself and create meaningful impact for SMBs is in connected automation across related activities and applications categories.

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Within SMBs the larger cloud trend is towards deeper use of SaaS

Techaisle’s cloud adoption trend data shows that within US SMBs the SaaS penetration increased from 27% in 2011 to 58% in 2014 and reached 73% in 2016. It is expected that the figure will reach 94% by the end of 2017. Unweighted data analysis shows that SaaS adoption within US SMBs is already at 86% and will likely reach 96% adoption within the next one year. Even at the worldwide level, survey data shows that 76% of cloud-SMBs are currently using SaaS applications.

This view of SaaS as a deepening force within the SMB market raises an important, related question: what is the current benchmark for SaaS within SMBs? How many SaaS applications are in use today? And how many new applications are expected to be added?

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SMB Channels Mobility Solutions Snapshot

Having the right information in the right context in the right format at the right time is critical to making business decisions these days, and increasingly that means access through mobile devices – whether it is the roughly 30% of consumers who own tablets or those tens of millions who get information from a Smartphone. A recent Techaisle survey of over 600 channel partners uncovered several important similarities and differences between how SMB channels are approaching three of the most important trends in the market: Cloud-Computing, Mobility Solutions and Remote Managed Services. In this post we will offer a snapshot of some characteristics of Mobility in the SMB Channel.

SMBs Requesting Mobility Solutions from the ChannelFrom a demand perspective, 60% of partners reported having SMB customers request Mobility Services, with almost 80% of ISV customers topping the list. Not surprisingly, email – the killer app, is the most used and offered service with about 50%, followed by Payment Processing with over a quarter. As we have found in other surveys, the front-office, revenue-related applications of CRM, especially among ISVs, and SFA, especially among SPs and Social Media Marketing, especially among SPs, were all being adopted by almost a quarter of respondents. We expect a rapid uptake in 2013 in the area of Mobile Analytics, which is being embedded into many front office SaaS applications in the form of dashboards and self-configured KPI management with proactive communications, or from the several cloud-based pure-play BI vendors in the market. As mentioned following the recent Citrix announcements, we also believe the market is ripe for adoption of Cloud-based Productivity Suites, which will also drive adoption of mobility among SMBs.

In many areas of Cloud Computing and especially Remote Managed Services, the big inflection point in both adoption and average spending does not happen until the 100-249 employee segment, but not so with Mobility; approximately 60% of the demand comes from the 1-9 and 10-49 employee segments, with the increase in email (across the board) and Social Media Marketing and Mobile Advertising (ISVs, SPs) driving the trend.

SMB Partner Mobility ChallengesThere are differences in the approaches, needs and challenges between SMB channel types when offering Mobility Solutions to customers, typically falling into Cost and Complexity, Management and Employee, Network and Device and Security categories. In this example, we see some key differences between the VAR/SI and SP partners related to the provision of Mobility solutions. Poor Network Service is the biggest challenge for VAR/SI partners, followed by Insufficient Network Speeds, Lack of Integration/Compatibility, and Immature Platform Choices. Both were challenged equally by Slow Performance of Mobile Apps and Device Management issues. SPs biggest challenges relative to VAR/Sis included Lack of Applications Availability, followed by Poor Mobile Web browsers, and Network and Device Issues.

As the market matures, these challenges should dissipate with increased mobile responsiveness built into websites and applications, more affordable device and data plan pricing and wider adoption of smart mobile devices. For now, the perennial SMB issue of cost and complexity of new technology balanced against perceived and demonstrated return on investment remains the most important barrier for channels to overcome.

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