The new kid on the block
Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are becoming increasingly important to technology and communications service providers as a means of growing their business. The enterprise market is saturated, highly competitive and very mature, with ongoing established relationships. Looking at the numbers, SMBs are prolific and, while sales channels and approaches need to be adapted to reduce the cost per sale, SMBs overall provide a wealth of opportunity.
When it comes to cloud services, SMB and cloud technology are a great match. Cloud adoption gives SMBs access to state-of-the-art technology at a fraction of the cost, providing greater flexibility and the ability to keep up with technological changes. Companies have been swift to embrace "the cloud", as they can see huge commercial and financial benefits.
More than just an enabler, cloud technology is cresting the curves of ubiquity, connectivity, adoption, and cost to the degree that it is effecting huge changes in industry and business models. Mobile platforms, social media and robust analytics are bridging the entry briars that once prevented small-to-medium-sized companies from entering different domains.
What should service providers offer the SMBs?
Following some initial resistance, it's now clear to service providers that cloud technologies bring high value in terms of a flexible IT footprint, rapid deployment, and risk-free upgrades. These advantages allow SMBs to gain the full benefits of the latest customer engagement technology.
Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory firm, has seen a steady increase in client interest in cloud-based deployments, ranging from CCaaS (contact center-as-a-service) to company-dedicated hosted solutions. By adopting a CCaaS model, for example, SMBs leave technology deployment, software integration, updating and upscaling, as well as system maintenance, to a SaaS vendor. This gives them:
- Agility - Cloud contact center solutions automatically adapt, add or change capacity and resources as needed, for hassle-free updates. This also supports business growth, quickly and securely scaling up without disrupting business continuity.
- Reliability - Data search and retrieval is faster in the cloud, with efficient processes in place for any size organization.
- Cost-effectiveness - The CCaaS model eliminates upfront capital expenditures on deployment, while slashing the cost of ongoing maintenance and upgrades, for the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
Every opportunity has its challenges
There are specific reasons why high cloud consumption may not necessarily mean SMBs are more astute with cloud services, nor that they are greater investors in cloud services. Instead, it could be due to current state laws and regulations that effect economic performance and private investment.
Service providers should realize that, even if cloud engagement is high, they could be missing out on a major opportunity. Their communication strategy needs to be focused on the needs and demands of SMBs within each region and, indeed, each country.
To learn more about the various SaaS and hosted solutions for SMBs, visit the NICE cloud solution page or download the NICE cloud solutions brochure.