1. A Paradigm Shift in Technology Services

We hear the phrase “paradigm shift” too often. Sometimes it’s mostly marketing hype. But other times the new paradigm is a real game-changer for businesses, such as the arrival of online commerce. This is one of those times. Mobile devices, social business apps, and business analytics are converging with the Cloud to create the most substantial changes in technology since the Internet revolution. Businesses have to change the way they think and operate, and with rising budgets for technology, they need someone to provide the services that will keep them competitive in this environment.

2. SMB’s are Outsourcing Technology

Small and Midsized Businesses (also termed SMB’s) are eager to take advantage of new technologies to improve productivity, mobility, information analysis, and collaboration. To do that, most will need help from technology service providers. According to IDC, SMB’s outsource approximately 35% of their service needs. This figure is likely to grow as the new technology paradigm swings into full gear. Budgets are rising and demand is exploding for mobile devices, BYOD, cloud applications, and big data. By taking advantage of reliable service offerings, SMB’s are able to focus on core competencies and leave the technology side to the experts.

“There are thousands of applications and vendors. SMB’s need technology service providers to research, select and assemble the best packages of services to help clients (internal or external) achieve business objectives”, says Craig Ashmole, Founding Director of London based CCServe Consulting.

3. Technology at Your Service

In the past, technology provided giant enterprises with a distinct competitive advantage over smaller rivals. SMB’s just couldn’t afford top of the line hardware, software and networks, and maintaining these systems required too much technical expertise.

“The convergence of new technologies puts the little guy on a level playing field. By purchasing technology ‘as a service’, SMB’s are able to defray upfront software licensing costs, spread costs over time for better cash flow, increase security and information quality, and make technology more available and accessible across the organisation”. Craig Ashmole goes on to say. “It’s the democratisation of Technology. SMB’s can quickly take advantage of any new technology and by doing so will have a growing voice with vendors to guide future enhancements”.

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4. Future Forecast: Super Cloud-y

Technology service providers report a lot of interest in cloud services from SMB’s. The appeal of high-capability technology without need for in-house resources or large upfront expense holds great appeal for this market. The smallest businesses have adopted cloud applications fastest, probably because the risk/reward ratio is most beneficial to smaller businesses. Midsized businesses are quickly following suit. Seeing the increased demand, software vendors are allocating the bulk of new R&D investment into the cloud. This means that the best new products will be designed for the cloud, thus steepening the adoption curve.

Craig Ashmole states that the consulting community needs to “Educate their clients about the advantages and potential challenges of cloud computing. Help them make accurate ROI predictions and address the push back on security concerns”.

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5. What Convergence Means for Technology Service Providers

The paradigm shift is a big deal, and it will create big opportunities for technology services companies that embrace the change and begin to deliver emerging services:

  • Vendors need a capable, knowledgeable channel that understands the promise and the challenges of these new technologies.
  • Clients need a partner that understands their business and can help them make strategic choices from a growing smorgasbord of service offerings.

To add real value in the emerging environment, technology professionals will need to become masters of services orchestration, integrating multiple services to solve a unique business problem for the client.

Notes:

1. Alicia Stein, “10 Things to Know About the SMB Market, According to Gartner,” Midsize Enterprise Strategies, September 27, 2012.
2. Spiceworks, “State of SMB IT in 1H 2013,” slide presentation
3. Bob Anderson, “The SMB Market in 2013: Drivers, Trends & Predictions,” Gartner, presentation from 2013 Midsize Enterprise Summit.
4. Bob Anderson, Gartner.
6. Spiceworks, “SMB IT Spending: How IT Pros are Creating and Managing 2013 Budgets,” December 2012.
7. Bob Anderson, “The SMB Market in 2013: Drivers, Trends & Predictions,” Gartner, presentation from 2013 Midsize Enterprise Summit.
8. Spiceworks, “State of SMB IT: 1H 2013,” presentation accessed at SlideShare, 2013.
9. Spiceworks, “State of SMB IT: 1H 2013,” presentation accessed at SlideShare, 2013