VARs, ISVs and Service Providers (SPs) are going full throttle in providing cloud computing and mobility solutions to SMBs. Techaisle’s detailed Channel and corresponding SMB Research shows that there are some demand supply gaps between Cloud & Mobility offerings from channel partners and what the SMB customer needs. This gap between channel supply and SMB demand is illustrated below:
Red bars indicate a gap shown by a higher percentage of SMBs asking for solutions than Channels offering them, which creates shortage and channel opportunity, while the green bars indicate a higher percentage of Channels offering solutions than SMBs demanding; creating surplus capacity and increasing price pressure.
Higher demand-supply gap for Mobility Solutions
The demand-supply gap is higher for mobility solutions than cloud computing. SMBs are demanding mobility solutions; however, both the Channel Partners and their vendors have not yet developed sufficient expertise and solutions to supply them. Cloud computing technology has had longer to develop and mature while mobility has taken center stage (and resources) only in the last two years, resulting in a focus on access to application data rather than development of new applications. Techaisle research suggests that SMBs are particularly interested in mobile applications in the areas of Productivity Suites, Time and Billing Management, Social Media Marketing, Logistics and Field Service applications.
This is giving rise to many smaller, flexible and niche players that are providing point mobility solutions to SMBs, but their main weakness is channel reach. Conversely, large IT vendors with vast number of channel partners such as Cisco, Dell, HP, and IBM are still working on viable mobility solutions offerings and corresponding messaging. Many solutions available today from these vendors are targeted towards secure device management, BYOD enablement, and virtualized access to applications across multiple devices. Techaisle analysis shows that SMBs, although excited about these offerings, prefer to have them embedded in overall mobility solutions to reduce complexity in managing and administering multiple layers of IT.
Vertical Cloud Solutions
In the area of cloud computing, SMBs are requesting vertical industry solutions. In order to accomplish this, channels need to go beyond technology knowledge and really understand the dynamics of industries in which their customers operate and become industry subject matter experts. Channel partners would do well to focus on cloud solutions that help SMBs with their industry verticals, disaster recovery, accounting, and new forms of communication such as video conferencing, web conferencing and hosted VOIP. These combinations of cloud services make it easier for SMB customers to handle vendor relationships without having to manage separate account reps, billing and agreements across Infrastructure, Business Productivity, Communication and Industry Vertical Solution categories.
CRM is one of the most adopted cloud business application by SMBs and is also extensively offered by channels. Initiated by Salesforce.com and followed by SugarCRM, Zoho, Microsoft and many others, cloud CRM has already permeated the SMB landscape. IT Vendors like Dell are taking CRM to the next level by providing packaged solutions such as Salesforce.com CRM along with marketing automation from Pardot and Dell Boomi integration platform to increase the functionality, productivity and customization.
However, Techaisle research suggests that channel partners need to focus on delivering solutions that have higher relevancy to SMBs.
The above data is taken from Techaisle’s report titled “US Channel View – Challenges and Trends in Offering SMB Cloud, Mobility and Managed Services Solutions”. The US report is based on 604 channel interviews, and similar detailed surveys and analysis have been done for the Germany, UK, China, Brazil and India Markets.