By Mike Foreman, general manager, SMB at AVG
Whilst the cloud is creating a buzz within the IT industry, the term itself continues to cause confusion within SMBs.
A survey of UK SMBs by AVG Technologies in November this year highlighted that only a quarter of SMBs have adopted some form of cloud services. A similar proportion (22 percent) thought cloud services were only for large companies. In fact, one-in-three SMBs (31 percent) said they did not understand cloud services at all. These statistics appear to confirm that SMBs are still at the early stages of cloud services adoption.
The good news is that many will turn to their trusted reseller partners to manage it all for them. For many break-fix resellers struggling with lower margins on hardware and software cloud services could well be the answer to their prayers.
Free IT management tools are starting to appear that should help resellers wanting to become cloud service providers. Managing services like data security via the cloud gives SMBs more productivity, flexibility and control over their IT. For the resellers who serve them providing services in this way opens up new revenue streams such as pay-as-you-go billing and increased opportunities to sell complementary value-added services, as well as the efficiency of having to make fewer site visits to the customer. Furthermore, essential services such as security can now be deployed in a single click while activity on customer systems is remotely monitored and managed via a single centralised console.
The cloud offers SMB resellers the ability to offer their customers IT solutions that have been purpose-built for their needs. For too long IT vendors have been bringing stripped down versions of solutions that were designed for enterprise to market and asking their Channel to sell them to their SMB customers. Small businesses are fed up of solutions that are packed with complexity and top-end functions that will never be used. Pay-as-you-go cloud services allow SMBs to scale their IT solutions up as they grow, but also to scale down if circumstances dictate, without disrupting the core business. Having your IT managed in the cloud by a trusted reseller also allows you to grow to a much larger size before you need to think about investing in dedicated IT resources on site.
SMBs need IT that is easy to manage delivered in a way that allows them to pay only for what they use. The cloud ticks all these boxes, ensuring IT fulfils the business purpose for which it was intended and does not become a burden. Many SMBs also need a trusted reseller to manage it for them. For many resellers fearing for their futures in a changing IT climate the cloud could be just the saviour they are looking for.
* Statistics set forth in this article are from the Opinion Matters’ Cloud Services survey, commissioned by AVG of 505 and 502 business data managers in companies employing 1-100 employees in the UK and US. Raw data from the study is available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org