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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.

Techaisle research shows SMB and midmarket technology purchase process becoming more complex

We are in the midst of a transition from an IT industry shaped by small decision making units (DMUs) comprised of IT professionals to an industry that must respond to the varied needs of BDMs and ITDMs. This makes for a very complex selling environment; many IT suppliers would no doubt like to have ‘the genie hop back into the bottle,’ as many members of their sales and marketing teams lack the skills and understanding needed to sell to BDMs.

Techaisle research on SMB and Midmarket buyers journey and decision-making shows that ITDMs and BDMs have differences in ‘care-abouts, are focused on applying IT to different business objectives, have different perceptions of success measures, and use different information sources. The data is not only helpful in building relevant marketing messages, but also serves to underscore the complexity of working with a diverse DMU. This DMU becomes further complicated with the presence of IT conversant business specialists (embedded IT staff), increasingly residing within line of business units, reporting to business, and away from IT.

  • Business management has seized a much greater role in technology acquisition, deployment & management than IT management – varying from 3.4X in “needs identification” to 2.0X in “solution evaluation & selection”
  • Within small businesses, business management plays a more influential role than IT in five out of nine stages of technology solution adoption
  • Within mid-market businesses, role of business management is predominant in the first three stages of decision making (needs identification to solution options), equal to IT in the next two (solution evaluation & selection) and substantially higher than IT in the last two stages (determining solution effectiveness and optimization)
  • In nearly 1/4th of small businesses and slightly over 1/3rd of medium businesses, technology specialists (embedded IT staff) are employed within Business Units not reporting to IT management. In nearly 50 percent of midmarket firms that have IT specialists, they are the primary decision makers
  • Determining the need for new cloud business applications is the prerogative of business management. The balance of authority within SMBs is nearly 7:1 in favor of business management except in the case of mid-market businesses where it is nearly 2:1
  • Ad-hoc purchase and deployment of new cloud business applications is prevalent within 22 percent of mid-market businesses
  • In 15 percent of SMBs budget for new business application is usually created at the time of ad hoc decisions for purchase to meet business needs
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SMB and Midmarket digital transformation needs orchestration

“IT and cloud orchestration” reflects the reality of a multi-platform world in the era of digital transformation. Techaisle research shows that within the SMB & midmarket segment, orchestrated connected cloud and technology will be the focus of substantial new investment over the next few years. Connected cloud itself forms the basis for an Interwork platform for successful digital transformation and is crucial for competitiveness and growth.

  • Upper midmarket firms use an average of 2.5 of the four leading public cloud providers (AWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM) – a true multi-cloud environment
  • For 25% of small businesses and 51% of midmarket firms, workloads and data migrate across cloud and/or on-premise platforms
  • 89% of midmarket firms state that orchestration tools are critical to their ability to deploy workloads on hybrid platforms
  • 46% of SMBs do not know which cloud services to use and in what order
  • 47% of SMB/midmarket-focused channel partners are offering orchestration but only 24% are delivering, but 55% are expecting substantial revenue increases in the next 1 year
  • Use of orchestration is poised for growth as 40% of midmarket firms and 15% of small businesses are implementing cloud connectivity

Using a large number of on-premise technology as well as cloud platforms is escalating complexity beyond reasonable manual management limits. In response to this conundrum, many SMBs & midmarket firms are turning to orchestration as a strategy for optimizing use of multiple platforms and multiple technologies (topic of another blog another time). But help and guidance are missing. Even Techaisle’s latest channel partner study shows that although 47% offer orchestration but only 24% are delivering, and that also partially. Their vendor partners are not helping because of intense focus on enterprise segment.

In the quest for digitalization and digital transformation there has been ad hoc adoption of technology – both cloud & on-premise - as responses to paint points within SMBs.

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Techaisle midmarket survey reveals holistic digital transformation strategy yields better business outcomes

Midmarket firms that adopt a holistic organization-wide digital transformation strategy are growing at 2.2X vs. Siloed digital transformation strategy. They are also experiencing 2.1X business process cost reduction, 1.9X better customer intimacy and 1.4X improved employee productivity vs. Siloed adopters. Techaisle’s US midmarket digital transformation trends study shows that it pays to have an organization-wide, holistic digital transformation strategy. Survey of 876 US midmarket firms reveals that Holistic adopters are experiencing better business outcomes than Siloed adopters of digital transformation.

We are all responsible for the pace of change – and to ensuring that it benefits rather than threatens our success. Nowhere is this clearer than with digital transformation – the adoption of digital infrastructure as the foundation for digital business processes, which enhance operational efficiency, employee empowerment, product innovation, customer intimacy, competitiveness and profitability throughout the organization. Businesses that embrace digitalization are more agile, more adept at using technology to accelerate cycle time and expand reach, better able to respond to market opportunities and requirements – while those that are left behind face an uncertain future in which one wrong step can lead to diminished business viability.

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Techaisle study reveals four midmarket segments by digital transformation strategy and vast untapped potential

Holistic, Inclusive, Siloed and In-the-Shadows are the four midmarket segments by digital transformation strategy as revealed in Techaisle’s US midmarket digital transformation trends survey & segmentation data. The segmentation reveals that overall, 41% of the US midmarket firms (100-999 employee size) are firm believers in digital transformation. They are leading digital transformation initiatives. These firms belong to the “Holistic” segment of the four different digital transformation segments. They believe that digital technologies impact every aspect of the business and are a core part of organizational strategy. Interestingly though, within the firms belonging to the holistic segment, digitization of process automation is far from complete. They still have a huge runway in front of them.

For 59% of the midmarket firms, digital transformation initiatives are sporadic and ad hoc or not critical across the entire business. These are the firms that belong to the Inclusive, Siloed and In-the-Shadows segments. They are the laggards in digital transformation journey.

Clearly there is vast untapped potential for firms offering digital transformation services to the midmarket businesses.

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