By Daniel Saks
If you own a smartphone – which, considering there are almost as many smartphones on the planet as people, you probably do – then you already know that apps are everywhere. Last year, consumers downloaded almost 60,000 of them per minute, a figure that adds up to more than 30 billion total app downloads.
For the telecom sector, however, mobile apps are only part of the story. Cloud-based applications, or SaaS apps, are the next chapter in the industry’s playbook. Thanks to technology that millions of people around the world use every day – the app marketplace – application delivery is easier than ever before. This is a huge opportunity, especially for channel partners, but to understand why you'll have to think small – small business, to be more precise.
SMBs Turning to Channel Partners for Cloud Help
SaaS apps are transforming the way many companies, particularly SMBs, operate. By allowing them to do more with fewer IT resources, SMBs have become some of today's most enthusiastic SaaS adopters. Forty-five percent of all SMBs use at least one SaaS app, a number that’s predicted to double over the next five years.
That meteoric growth represents tremendous potential for channel partners. Because, despite SMBs' enthusiasm for cloud-based solutions, many still face challenges finding and managing SaaS apps. SMBs crave partners to help them implement new technology. In fact, more than a third prefer to obtain solutions from local providers, presumably because "local" implies a more hands-on partnership.
Given their place in the telecom ecosystem, channel partners are ideally positioned to serve as SMB providers of choice for cloud-based apps. Many already have large SMB customer bases, and SaaS apps seem like a natural value add to many of the services – such as Internet, voice, and mobile – that channels offer.
Despite this synergy, channel partners still need an easy, cost-effective way to deliver cloud services to SMBs. For a simple solution, look no further than the application marketplace.
Application Marketplaces – A Solution for Partners and SMBs Alike
Apps have been around for almost a decade, but their popularity began to explode when Apple launched its first app store, iTunes. Other app marketplaces like it, such as Google Play for Android, make it easy to find, buy, and use applications.