SMBs are wrestling with many challenges, including unreliable network connections, cybersecurity and privacy concerns, productivity issues, and support. In addition, SMBs are mindful of the need for help composing, deploying, and managing digital business infrastructure. The recent surge in remote work has also significantly increased the requirement for effective networks and network management and the complexity of deploying a holistic digital business infrastructure.
SMB networks and network management resources are not as sophisticated as those in enterprise environments. As a result, SMBs will encounter high incidences of network issues such as delivering robust support for videoconferencing and jittering and extending security across distributed applications, devices, and networks.
Networking, a necessary foundation for digital business infrastructure, is a particularly onerous IT management category. Techaisle survey data shows that managing network hardware or network support consumes 47% of SMB IT staff time.
In response to explosive increases in demand for deployment and support of digital business platforms, resource-constrained SMBs are looking for new solutions. They are looking for MSPs as external service providers – and they are looking at SD-WAN. Techaisle data shows that SD-WAN adoption among SMBs will likely grow by 160% within one year. The adoption growth rate is second only to 5G. There is a firm belief within the SMB community that SD-WAN is a critical technology for enabling digital transformation within the SMB segment.
This data indicates a significant and growing opportunity for MSPs to help SMBs deploy digital business infrastructure and manage the associated networking challenges. So what do MSPs need to do to capture this new business?
Many MSPs concentrate their marketing messages on either providing execution resources that can meet the SMB IT support requirements and the accompanying concerns about bandwidth and cybersecurity or supporting the build-out of increasingly hybrid environments that enable agile reactions to changing business needs.
In reality, for resource-constrained SMBs determined to keep pace with the advance of digital business, this is not an either/or situation. SMBs need a partner to help design and roll out sophisticated transformation capabilities and operational support to bridge staff shortages and skills gaps. MSPs looking to develop long-term, mutually valuable relationships with SMBs need to emphasize alignment with their SMB customers on four key issues:
Techaisle's research shows that MSPs and SMBs share a common perspective in each area. Therefore, an MSP's ability to emphasize alignment and highlight the processes and technologies used to address each issue will resonate with prospective SMB customers.
Reliance on technology and connectivity, and digital transformation as a broader objective, are examples of priorities that have gained new urgency. In a world where contact with local customers is often virtual and where these same virtual links open opportunities to collaborate with suppliers, partners and customers worldwide, there is no distinction between "digital business infrastructure" and "business infrastructure."
MSPs are moving into a new era. Firms that focus only on providing execution resources that meet IT support requirements will find their firms "niched," as SMB customers look for suppliers to help them adjust to the new digital-centric business reality.
MSPs are in a position to capture a large share of the US$354 billion that US SMBs will spend on digital transformation by 2025 – but with a pot that big, many participants will look to establish toeholds in the market.
SD-WAN offers MSPs an opportunity to simultaneously achieve three critical goals: address customer needs and aspirations, streamline internal operations, and facilitate new capabilities. The future is (as always) more enticing than it is clearly defined. But, it is apparent as the future arrives, SD-WAN will be a core component of its blueprint.
Research You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon