SMBs the future of the new normal

Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, representing 99 per cent of businesses and employing over 16 million people. Fast-growing and innovative, they help to drive long-term economic productivity and growth. It is therefore vital that SMBs are equipped with essential digital tools and technical support. Rob Hancock, Head of Platform, Giacom explains why SMBs are the future of the new normal and what the channel can do to enable and equip this growing sector more effectively.

Agility is important

SMBs tend to be more agile than larger enterprises because they don’t have the same level of bureaucracy to manage. Many SMBs can bring on services and tools at a much quicker pace than larger organisations, which may have to go through many layers of approval. During the pandemic, agility has never been more crucial, too, with the necessity of remote working, collaboration tools and security protocols to implement.

The channel is key to SMB cloud deployment

71 per cent of companies plan to adopt cloud tech directly and more than a third of organisations will rely on the channel for support here (MSPs, VARs, retailers, or distributors).

Anecdotally, many SMBs have fewer internal IT resources at their disposal to support managing IT (no in-house team or staff with little IT management knowledge). In these cases, they could really benefit from outsourcing IT requirements to specialist SMB-focused MSP channel partners who can support them.

Additionally, many entrepreneurs often don’t have the spare time for or access to the training that they need to manage IT. Therefore, the MSP, and wider channel, has an opportunity to educate this market and provide complete offerings to it.

Cloud penetration and changing needs 

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a dramatic increase in cloud adoption too, with social distancing restrictions recently increasing the need for remote working and cloud solutions. Over 50% of UK business leaders say the shift to a cloud business model, ultimately, saved their company from collapse during the height of the pandemic. Also, when it comes to embracing the cloud, it’s easier for recently established SMBs; as they’ve typically been ‘born’ in the cloud when it comes to their technology usage and adoption. These smaller organisations that take a cloud-first approach are a ‘new generation’ of business owners too. They understand the opportunity and risks of cloud services. 

Opportunity vs risk

The cloud benefits businesses by providing them with the resilience and scalability they need. SMBs can adapt as they grow and react to market changes; such as their move to remote working, using appropriate cloud software - rather than being restricted by an on-premise infrastructure.

Add in the importance of flexible financial models and better business protection during a time when cybersecurity is also a priority, the cloud becomes more compelling. And, with 43% of small businesses being victims of cyber-attacks, it’s clear that SMBs would want security to be included in the cloud too.

However, despite the confidence and opportunity that the cloud provides, it can be seen as a risk for IT teams, whether they’re in-house or outsourced partners. This is because when implementing the cloud, IT must ensure that any technology used truly contributes to the business and keeps information safe, rather than seeing that firm accidentally become the next ‘data breach’ news headline.

How the channel can support

MSPs must provide the right mix of technology to their customers as they build their IT estate, beyond offering unified communications suites. Monitoring market trends and understanding the needs of their customers is vital here.

Specifically, for SMB end-users, working with a partner who’s focused on the smaller business market enables them to access the right products to support their growth, as they move from basic requirements to more advanced needs. Once more, specialist SMB-focused CSPs, with strong and relevant vendor partnerships, and a solid technology roadmap, can play a key role in supporting MSPs effectively, as they strive to capitalise on the SMB market and grow their customers base.  

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