In a report issued by Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company (Tech Go-to-Market: Don’t Ignore Four Nontraditional Sales Channels for Small Business Market Growth; September 3, 2013) – the rise of Cloud Services Brokerages (CSBs) are an increasingly important means for small businesses to simplify their operations by getting a variety of business applications – from online back-up to web collaboration and file sharing – from the same trusted source that delivers their Internet and voice services: their service provider.
Gartner’s view is that increasing the use of cloud services is a top IT priority for small businesses and that service providers are in a unique position to become the “one-stop shop for small business IT” through a convenient package of Internet, voice and cloud apps combined with consolidated billing and integrated support that lets small business owners focus on running their business (and not IT).
The Involuntary IT Manager
Only a small percentage of small businesses actually have a full-time IT professional on staff, let alone a CIO or CTO. Because of this, they have high expectations for service and support and require hand-holding and education, both before and after the sale.
Walk into the local real estate office, insurance agency or other small business and you will likely not only meet with the owner but also the IT manager. Research from AMI-Partners underscores the challenge of these dual roles, the research firm calls the “involuntary IT manager” (IITM). On average these IITMs lose six hours per week of productivity while managing IT. The good news? IITMs think cloud-based solutions can help alleviate some of the burden of managing IT and 33% are likely to shift more IT spending toward cloud solutions.
Benefits of Cloud Services
Gartner‘s research shows that small businesses are indeed looking to simplify their lives by embracing cloud applications. Highlighted in the report, Upware from Comcast Business is one of the leading CSBs and is differentiated by taking a curated approach with simple access and account management so small that businesses can get right to work in the cloud. One of the early leaders in this market, the Upware marketplace is a suite consisting of various cloud-based ISV solutions and takes the app-nalysis paralysis out of choosing the right apps. Users have one number to call for support and management for everything from Comcast: Business Class Internet service, the Upware marketplace and software applications.
These business solutions are being recognized from many in the corporate world – from small to large sized businesses.
In Carbonite’s Q1 2013 results, SMBs represented about 24% of its bookings, up from 14% the year earlier. David Friend, CEO, Carbonite, said: “I believe that these results further reinforce our contention that the small business market is ready to embrace the cloud and recognizes the many advantages of our cloud backup, including lower overall cost, administration and easy access to business files on any computer or mobile device.”
Given service providers’ technology and communications expertise, and their ownership of the voice and data services that provide access to the Web and online business, companies such as Comcast are well-positioned to build strong provider ecosystems and offer cloud and managed services to small businesses, supplying secure infrastructure, information and communications services.
To learn more about Upware, visit: http://business.comcast.com