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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.
Anurag Agrawal

Cisco’s Master Plan for Seizing the SMB Market Opportunity

According to data from Techaisle, it is projected that the global IT expenditure of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will escalate to a staggering US$1.35 trillion by 2024. Furthermore, this spending is anticipated to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7%, extending through 2028. Cisco is making a significant push into the SMB market, a segment where it has enjoyed steady growth. In fiscal year 2023, which concluded in July, the SMB segment was Cisco’s top-performing customer category for a third consecutive year. Cisco sees this segment as a $25 billion addressable market opportunity, captured with mid to high-tier SMBs transitioning to cloud and SaaS solutions. Notably, about 20% of Cisco’s SMB business comes from new customers every year, underscoring this segment's critical role in expanding Cisco’s reach and reflecting on the growing demand for technology amongst SMBs.

Cisco’s go-to-market in the SMB segment is partner-led, catalyzed with continuous partner-focused programs, initiatives, and marketing investments to foster robust relationships. According to the latest research by Techaisle, a significant majority of SMBs, 87%, depend on their partners for technology solutions. Furthermore, these SMBs channel nearly 89% of their IT expenditure through these partners. Cisco is, therefore, continuously enhancing its engagement with partners, revamping its marketing strategies, and adapting to the changing needs of its customers. A vital part of this strategy is the focus on the new “Scale” go-to-market initiative, aligned to engaging SMB customers and Partners in this space, as unveiled at the company’s sales kickoff meeting in August. This model offers partners and customers enhanced sales and marketing support, ensuring that SMBs receive expert advice in crucial care-about areas such as cybersecurity or hybrid work.

The concept of “digital transformation” has become a staple in corporate discussions over the years. While some may write it off as a fad, many, particularly SMBs, understand its importance. For these businesses, digital transformation involves adopting digital technologies to streamline operations, improve customer relationships, and position themselves as agile and innovative entities in their respective fields. Techaisle data reveals that 71% of SMBs are investing in digital transformation, and 37% have a holistic digital strategy. SMBs, once perceived as technologically behind, are actively embracing cloud solutions to meet their IT requirements. These technologies have become crucial to their digital transformation journey, enabling them to automate various operational aspects and gain a competitive advantage through essential business process automation tools, orchestration, and integration or advanced offerings like custom AI and analytics applications hosted on cloud platforms.

Anurag Agrawal

One year with Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition: A Celebration of ThinkPad Excellence

Sitting in a hotel in SoHo district in New York City on a cold winter day in October 2022, I received my 30th-anniversary edition of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Upon unboxing, I was immediately drawn to the thoughtful details that set this edition apart. The packaging, crafted from eco-friendly bamboo and compostable sugarcane materials, was encased in a 30th-anniversary sleeve. Nestled within was a pamphlet chronicling the ThinkPad’s journey, a commemorative anniversary sticker, and interchangeable TrackPoint heads in vibrant RGB red, green, and blue colors. The lid branding was the first thing that caught my eye as I unveiled the laptop. The tri-colored logo is a delightful throwback to the old branding, reinforcing the nostalgic theme of this special edition.

My journey with the ThinkPad brand began in 1993, when I first laid hands on an IBM model, though I can’t recall if it was the 700 or 700c. The day the screen shattered was a heart-wrenching one for me. However, the efficient tech support at IBM’s Exchange Square in Hong Kong swiftly replaced the screen, much to my relief. In 1994, I switched to 701, also known as the Butterfly.

Fast forward to 2005, Lenovo took over IBM’s PC division, continuing the legacy of innovation that the ThinkPad line was known for. Among their offerings, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon stands out as a highly sought-after business laptop, earning critical acclaim for its slim design, robust performance, and impressive battery life.

In honor of the ThinkPad’s 30th anniversary, Lenovo introduced a special edition of the X1 Carbon. I am fortunate to have spent the last twelve months with this 30th-anniversary edition of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition is a remarkable milestone, celebrating three decades of the esteemed ThinkPad series. With a mere 5,000 units in circulation, this limited-edition model pays homage to the ThinkPad’s illustrious past and its progressive evolution.

Retaining the body design of the Gen 10, this compact laptop is a traveler’s dream with its 14-inch frame. Its slender 0.6-inch profile and feather-light weight of 2.4 pounds make it my constant companion during my relentless travels. Indeed, the laptop’s negligible weight in my backpack is such that it allows me the added convenience of carrying a ThinkVision M14. The two together have traveled with me three times around the world in the last twelve months. The presence of 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports and 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports proves incredibly handy. They allow for effortless connection of an external webcam or a light, eliminating the need for additional dongles.

The keyboard boasts a unique anniversary design, with the TrackPoint cap mirroring the classic ThinkPad colors. These nostalgic colors pay tribute to the original ThinkPads and serve as a recurring theme on this device. I’ve carefully preserved these interchangeable heads in a Ziploc pouch in my backpack.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition version I’ve been using is a powerhouse. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i7-1270P processor, which ensures robust performance for all my demanding tasks. Accompanied by 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, it allows for seamless multitasking.

The laptop also features a 1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD, providing me with ample storage space and facilitating quick boot times and rapid data access. This feature is a boon for someone like me who accumulates a lot of information.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition display is indeed a highlight. Its 14-inch screen, with a 3840 x 2400 pixels resolution, delivers crisp visuals and vibrant colors. This enhances every task, whether working on spreadsheets, watching videos, or participating in video calls.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 30th Anniversary Edition is more than just a laptop; it’s a testament to thirty years of innovation and quality. Its top-tier specifications, sleek design, and limited availability embody the ThinkPad brand's legacy. This powerful and stylish laptop is a device that celebrates the ThinkPad’s journey, making it an excellent addition to any workspace. My workspace.

thinkpad 30th

Anurag Agrawal

How SMBs and Midmarket Firms Can Leverage Cloud, DevOps, and Containers to Boost Agility and Productivity

Over the past two years, organizations around the globe have embarked on a tumultuous journey. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes, making productivity and agility more relevant than ever. Despite significant economic challenges, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have demonstrated resilience and determination. Their survival has been primarily due to the adoption of technology solutions.

As we look to the future, it’s clear that the success of businesses, particularly SMBs, hinges on their ability to enhance speed, adaptability, and productivity. This requires focusing on two key areas: business agility and productivity optimization.

The journey towards improved productivity and agility involves several strategies. For instance, businesses should adopt cloud technology to boost organizational agility to overcome slow resource provisioning – a common issue with traditional IT infrastructures. Additionally, moving away from monolithic legacy systems can enhance both agility and productivity. SMBs should also consider adopting DevOps practices over conventional app development methods to increase their ability to innovate and launch compelling offerings, thereby expanding their market share. DevOps can accelerate the transition from planning to production and speed up innovation – a critical factor for future growth.

However, it’s important to note that adopting these technologies can increase the complexity of IT infrastructure environments and escalate cloud costs. Therefore, SMBs must strategize effectively to manage cloud costs and leverage techniques like automation to streamline processes.

Utilizing the Potential of Cloud

SMBs and midmarket firms are constantly exploring innovative ways to enhance their operations, and cloud technology has emerged as a promising solution, offering agility and operational efficiency. Unlike the conventional practice of hosting applications on-premises, cloud computing enables the deployment of applications across multiple platforms without the need for physical infrastructure, thereby allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changes in their business environment.

Increasingly, businesses are migrating workloads to the cloud to expedite time-to-market, enhance efficiency, and bolster resilience. According to Techaisle’s research on SMB and Midmarket Cloud Adoption Trends, many businesses are shifting their focus toward the cloud. Specifically, 41% of SMBs and 45% of upper midmarket firms are actively investing in migrating more workloads to the cloud. Furthermore, there is a growing trend towards utilizing multiple public clouds, with 39% of SMBs and a notable 55% of upper midmarket firms increasing their usage. They are adopting a multi-cloud strategy to adapt to evolving demands, utilizing various cloud providers and services tailored to their specific needs. Consequently, the cloud environment has become more open and interoperable, ensuring that applications function seamlessly on any cloud infrastructure, regardless of the provider.

Furthermore, cloud-native technologies like Kubernetes and containers have revolutionized application deployment and management. Containers have simplified application development, testing, and deployment across various clouds by encapsulating applications into self-contained units, facilitating smooth migration between environments. Kubernetes is an orchestration framework that simplifies container management by providing automatic scaling, load balancing, and fault tolerance. By embracing containerization and Kubernetes, businesses can achieve application portability, reduce dependencies on specific infrastructure, and enable seamless multi-cloud operations.

For many SMBs and Midmarket firms, the journey towards migration and modernization commences with containers. These tools offer significant benefits, such as faster app deployment and updating, which 44% of these firms recognize. However, it’s worth noting that 66% of SMBs and midmarket firms are still exploring the potential of containers. Among the midmarket firms, 29% are already utilizing containers in various areas, including development, modernization, and migration.

Evolution from Virtual Machine (VM)-Centric Development to Cloud-Native Containers

In the past, virtual machines (VMs) have been instrumental in application virtualization, allowing companies to operate multiple virtual servers on a single physical system. However, VMs have certain limitations that can hinder application mobility and agility. Each VM houses an operating system and runs its own applications, which can lead to resource inefficiencies and elevated overhead costs.

Anurag Agrawal

Techaisle study reveals that the Cloud is closing the gap between strategy and execution for SMBs and Midmarket firms

In a genuine sense, the discussion of “the cloud” is similar in scope to the discussion of “IT.” In both cases, use is a given, but the scope and impact of that use are critical to the operational effectiveness and competitiveness.

In today’s world, there is little distinction between “business infrastructure” and “digital business infrastructure;” in recent SMB survey research, Techaisle found that executives from nearly all upper midmarket firms (1000-4999 employees) agree that we have reached a “post-digital” state where all business strategy discussions include digital considerations.

Cloud is the linchpin for these strategies. A Techaisle survey of more than 2,000 firms, segmented into small business (1-99 employees), core midmarket (100-999), and upper midmarket (1000-4999), found that across this broad spectrum, SMBs universally see cloud as a way to reduce IT and operational costs, increase operational agility, and support improved business processes that drive increased efficiency and profitability.

Cloud in an SMB Business Context

For more than a decade, the cloud has been touted as a means of enabling SMBs to capture IT benefits that were previously the sole province of large enterprises: the ability to achieve both IT cost-efficiency and the competitive edge arising from ubiquitous automation that accelerates processes and unlocks the potential of new relationships, offerings, and markets. Today, SMBs and midmarket firms are seeking a zero-friction future: a state in which businesses can seamlessly deploy and integrate capabilities across multiple business areas, creating fluid systems linking core functions to new approaches to engagement, insight, and innovation.

Since 2014, the path forward has proved to be more fractious than the vision. In most SMBs, the cloud itself advanced in fits and starts, with early attempts at hosted private cloud and use of public cloud to support business-critical workloads snagging on unclear platform standards, a lack of experienced talent, economic worries, and a delivery horizon which remained stubbornly beyond practical experience. But in time, knowledge and improved technologies have addressed the rough edges.

Cloud is increasingly able to deliver real benefits to SMBs: it is both a priority and a current reality, providing business infrastructure that connects strategy and execution, responding to changing business requirements, changing customer and supplier expectations, volatile competitive pressures, and new opportunities for automation of both systems and system-dependent processes and workflows.

Six truths about cloud in the SMB

Research You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon

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