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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 SD-WAN adoption unlocks business potential for MSPs

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?

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Red Hat cloud services deliver time to value and enhance developer and operator efficiency

In this Techaisle Take analysis, I will discuss which customer challenges Red Hat is addressing with its cloud services, market differentiation, especially VMware, and why its significant value lies in providing a consistent full-stack development and operational experience.

The customer challenges

A successful approach to the cloud needs to be structured around its capacity to evolve, support changing business requirements and customer/partner/employee expectations, respond to competitive pressures, and embrace new opportunities for automation/integration of automated systems. Businesses may be comfortable pursuing a limited number of objectives, but these objectives are no longer static. One of the challenges to providing cloud services is that the cloud spans two significant disciplines. One of the challenges to providing cloud services is that the cloud spans two critical levels. At a strategic level, the cloud is a management issue, and at the execution level, it is an IT issue. In IT, there are two main actors, developers and operators. Both developers and operations teams hold promise to support cloud development and deployment. In response, businesses have turned to an approach to development known as DevOps. In response, businesses have turned to an approach to developing and operating systems known as DevOps. Because of the optionality and complexity of tooling, it can be difficult to source appropriate cloud support for DevOps at a practical level. Techaisle’s Container Adoption Trends survey data shows that 57% of commercial customers seek application modernization services, and 77% are currently engaged in application migration services. Yet, 22% of firms believe there is a lack of IT and business strategy alignment understanding related to DevOps practice. Although modernization is a business priority, determining the right approach, paying off technical debt, internal strife between scrum/agile teams, not well-understood data & application dependencies, and legacy SDLC processes slow down the modernization programs. The competing corporate objectives usually compel an organization to manage and deploy a mix of environments, including on-prem configurations, private cloud, and multiple public cloud services. These diverse environments result in the need for a hybrid approach.

As a result, businesses deal with many inhibitors when planning to add business value at a faster pace and compete in the digital economy. The big challenge is building applications faster, reducing time to value, and deploying on-prem in private or public clouds. Operations teams are specifically under pressure to control costs, reduce operational complexity, improve security, and consistently manage across multiple cloud deployments. Operations teams are managing legacy applications running in virtualized environments in the data center while witnessing explosive adoption of the public cloud and associated services. In addition, businesses are increasing edge deployments, specifically in the industrial and telco verticals.

The solution – Red Hat Cloud Services

Red Hat’s cloud services strategy is built to address the multitude of the above-outlined challenges. Red Hat OpenShift provides consistency across all cloud environments, helping developers in cloud-native application development and rolling out applications in containers faster, giving the operators the ability to have the same operating experience across every deployment footprint for every application in both on-prem and public cloud. In addition to the core OpenShift platform, Red Hat Cloud Services includes several tightly integrated application development and data services intended to help developers build workloads and applications within the OpenShift managed-service environments. These additional managed cloud services include an API management service (Red Hat OpenShift API Management), a Kafka and streaming service (Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka), a service to simplify access control across multiple database vendors (Red Hat OpenShift Database Access), and a data science service (Red Hat OpenShift Data Science) for AI/ML workloads. According to Techaisle’s Container Adoption Trends survey research, the additional services are likely to see an adoption growth of 68% among commercial customers within the year.

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Hybrid work is challenging the SMBs

Techaisle’s SMB and Midmarket Hybrid Work Adoption Trends survey indicates that 41% of SMBs plan a phased approach to return to the office, up from 22% in 2021. 20% of employees will likely work from home, in sharp contrast to 58% in 2021, similar to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when 29% of small business (1-99) employees, 9% of employees within midmarket firms (100-999), and 7% within upper-midmarket firms (1000-4999), who worked from home. Techaisle survey also shows that 42% of employees want to work 3-4 days per week from home.

Security, remote IT support, and unreliable networks continue to be significant technology challenges in managing remote workers. Remote IT support is an especially acute inhibitor for 46% of small businesses. On the people-side of the hybrid work equation, work-life conflict, maintaining team cohesiveness, and lack of training/career implications are dominant challenges. As a result, only 11% have a hybrid first mindset, but 37% believe they have mature remote work practices.

Team collaboration solutions, office collaboration tools (conference room devices), and remote worker collaboration devices (headsets, video cameras, etc.) are the top three priorities for 45% to 58% of SMBs. PC upgrades and refreshes to enable a hybrid workforce are the fourth top priority for 39% of SMBs.

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Worldwide SMB and Midmarket IT spending forecast to reach USD1.25 trillion in 2022

Techaisle's latest research forecasts worldwide small business (1-99 employees), core midmarket (100-999 employees), and upper midmarket (1000-5000 employees) IT spend (excluding telecom services) will reach US$1.25 trillion in 2022. IT services will see the highest proportion of IT spending. Datacenter solutions will exhibit a growth of 4%. Overall worldwide cloud spending within the SMB and midmarket will grow by 21%. By 2025, 43% of global SMB and midmarket IT spending will be in the cloud.

SMB IT investment is increasing to counter inflation, labor shortage, supply chain concerns and accelerate business transformation through digitalization. SMBs are looking for ways to streamline business and IT processes to best return on existing human capital. In the pursuit of greater efficiency, SMBs are also exploring options that help stretch budgets and use efficiency-oriented techniques to optimize the impact of wage inflation and the increasingly competitive landscape. SMBs plan to invest in PCs, analytics, cloud, security, UCaaS / CCaaS, customer experience solutions, and networking.

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