New research from Techaisle shows a higher percentage of small and medium businesses are asking for cloud and mobility services than there are channel partners offering them.
The demand-supply gap is higher for mobility than for cloud solutions, the research firm found, noting cloud services have had longer to develop and mature while mobility has taken center stage (and resources) only in the last two years.
Techaisle research suggests that SMBs particularly are interested in mobile applications in the areas of productivity suites, time and billing management, social media marketing, logistics and field service applications. This interest is giving rise to many smaller niche players that are providing point mobility solutions to SMBs, but with limited channel reach. Meanwhile, large IT vendors, such as Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM, with vast number of channel partners still are working on viable mobility solutions. What's available today from these vendors are solutions for 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.
In the area of cloud services 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 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 applications by SMBs and its also is offered by channels. Initiated by Salesforce.com and followed by SugarCRM, Zoho, Microsoft and many others, cloud CRM already has 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.