Right now, approximately 30 percent of all SMBs use some sort of paid cloud service, according to the research.
That, in itself, is a notable trend. What is also interesting, from a channel partner standpoint, is the fact that many of the SMBs surveyed by Microsoft felt that it was important to buy their cloud services from a local technology solution provider.
In addition, approximately 56 percent of the companies that were surveyed indicated that they would prefer to buy their IT services and cloud services from a single source — suggesting that there is a serious opportunity for VARs, resellers, integrators, MSPs and other technology solution providers to layer cloud recommendations into their solution portfolio.
Many of the SMBs surveyed (53 percent) said they would turn to an ISV or software company to acquire cloud services, while approximately 12 percent said they expected to source these services from a local reseller or systems integrator.
“Trust development is critical to our work with SMBs. Increasingly, clients tell us they work with Hostway because our global datacenter network often provides local support,” said Aaron Hollobaugh, vice president of marketing for the Microsoft business partner, in a statement. “Client trust is earned because we view every business — regardless of size — as an enterprise.”
The study covered 3,000 SMBs in 13 countries; it was conducted in December 2011 by Edge Strategies on behalf of Microsoft. Some additional statistical highlights can be found in the infographic below.
Check out more IT channel news on SearchITChannel.com and follow us onTwitter! Here’s how to follow Heather Clancy directly.]]>
Todd Palmer, vice president of Americas Channels at NetApp, told me that the company currently has 16% of the midmarket storage space and is stealing share using the strength of the NetApp brand.
NetApp partners seem pleased with the change, which Palmer said was a reaction to partner and customer needs.
“It provides a great competitive answer to EMC and to the wider competition at the mid-entry level,” said Shawn Hamby, director of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems. “A full featured system with a decent amount of controller horsepower will be well received.”
NetApp partner David Hekimian, CTO of Trace3 agreed that the new products fill a need seen by channel partners.
“I needed a NetApp FAS2000 that could scale up and allow me to get my foot in the door,” said Hekimian.
He shared that the previous iteration of the FAS2000 didn’t have all the features, but the new release has given customers a smaller platform with all the features.
The FAS2040 has limitations around interface connectivity and internal drives. These include choosing between either the onboard 1 GB Ethernet or 4 GB FC and no PCI slot expansion. Use of the internal drives limits what can be done with those drives after an upgrade. The FAS2240 is an improvement, according to Hekimian, with the available expansion slot for additional interfaces, 10 GB Ethernet or 8 GB FC. It can also be converted into a shelf that could connect to another controller.
“Making a lower-end offering more feature rich allows SMBs to take advantage of enterprise features and bring them one step closer in designing a flexible, scalable and more reliable architecture” said Hekimian.
And, he explained, as the customer needs to scale up, the head can be replaced, making the system go from the 2000 series to the 3000, 4000 or 6000 series and keep the customer disks and avoid data migration.
The most common midmarket use for the new system Hamby said, is multiple protocols and applications such as Exchange, VMware and SQL server deploying on the system.
“A typical midmarket company can deploy two or three of these applications on a single NetApp system, providing economies of scale and ease of management,” he said.
Let us know what you think about the story; email Leah Rosin at email@example.com, or follow us on Twitter.]]>
During its VMworld Europe conference last week, VMware introduced three new virtualization management offerings: a vCenter Operations update and new vFabric Application Management and IT Business Management suites. Here’s what is new:
vFabric Application Management Suite
IT Business Management Suite
Probably the biggest drawback for these new releases, due in late 2011 and early 2012, is that they don’t support heterogeneous hypervisors other than VMware’s own technology.
Several new technologies being announced this week by Citrix also are intended to ease management, although the focus on the desktop rather than the server.
At the center of the releases is an update to VDI-in-a-Box, which is a set of technologies for setting up virtual desktops. The release supports all three of the major hypervisors, including Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware’s vSphere, ESX and ESXi. It has also been integrated with Citrix GoToManage, a managed services platform that can be used to monitor and tune VDI-in-a-Box remotely.
Citrix has created a new partner designation in its Citrix Solution Advisor Program, called SMB Specialist, in order to support IT solution providers and managed services providers selling into this space. The company will begin certifying partners at this level in January.
Check out more IT channel news on SearchITChannel.com and follow us on Twitter! Here’s how to follow Heather Clancy directly.]]>
What, me worry? In stark contrast to just 15 months ago, the 2010 Global SMB Information Protection Survey from Symantec finds that small and midsize businesses rank “protecting their information” as their top IT concern. The report is based on the findings of 2,152 executives from more than 28 countries during May 2010.
In fact, they rank it ahead of other concerns such as traditional “criminal” activity, natural disasters and terrorism. According to Symantec, the average spend by SMB accounts on information security is about $51,000; two-thirds of the IT staff time at these companies is dedicated to matters of information protection, including backup and recovery.
One of the biggest current issues is security related to mobile devices, notably ones that lost or stolen. According to the survey, almost two-thirds of the surveyed businesses have lost some sort of mobile device over the last year, be it a notebook, tablet or smart phone.
Almost three-quarters of the surveyed companies faced down at least one cyberattack during the past year, and ALL of those respondents said they had lost money as a result of the attack, in either time wasted or data lost.
As you might expect, Symantec has some ideas about how you can use this information. You can download the complete details as either a PDF file or presentation.
Check out more IT channel news on SearchITChannel.com and follow us on Twitter!]]>
According to the latest Annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report, 63 percent of technology solution providers specialized on smaller companies expect their customers to spend more on information technology during 2010, which is dramatically higher than the 29 percent who said the same thing in 2009. The survey, which was fielded among about 500 Microsoft Small Business Specialist partners, found that these partners anticipate that IT spending will rise an average of 16 percent over year-ago levels.
Priority investments being reported by this group of technology solution providers include virtualization and other consolidation technologies and services, software as a service applications, customer relationship management software, and technologies to help support mobile workers. For example, those surveyed said they expected a 20 percent increase in the number of their customers that use cloud solutions.
Birger Steen, vice president of Small and Medium Business & Distribution for the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group at Microsoft, says that whereas last year the Small Business Specialists said their customers were mainly conserved with savings as much money on their IT as possible, SMBs seem willing to invest again in applications and technologies that could help their business grow.
One of the most compelling data points in the survey: Almost three-quarters of those surveyed expect their customers to need to support more remote workers, which was up from 54 percent in 2009.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the United States are increasingly relying on new information technology (IT) solutions to strengthen their operational, marketing and customer engagement activities, according to a new study released today by CompTIA <http://www.comptia.org/> , the leading trade association for the global IT industry.
The Microsoft survey dovetails with new data from CompTIA’s Second Annual SMB Technology Adoption Trends study, which was fielded among about 400 SMBs with 10 to 499 employees during February 2010. Approximately 71 percent of the survey respondents said they would be willing to pay a premium for technology solutions that have a demonstrable return on investment (ROI) for their business.
The CompTIA survey also showed virtualization and mobility as key trends. For example, close to 40 percent of the SMBs say they plan to adopt server virtualization in the next 12 months. Almost half (45 percent said that enabling remote employees would likewise be a priority.
Another cool data point for you open source advocates out there: Nearly 20 percent of the surveyed businesses say they will begin using open source software in the 12 months.
Check out more IT channel news on SearchITChannel.com and follow us on Twitter!]]>
The company’s 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey included roughly 1,560 responses from 28 different countries. A full 82 percent of the SMBs said they were satisfied with their disaster recovery plans. At the sime time, however, the average respondent reported at least three outages in the past 12 months. What’s more, only 23 percent back up their data. Even those businesses aren’t backing up their COMPLETE data set, since most of the SMBs that ARE backing their data are backing up only about 60 percent of what they have.
Here’s the complete press release about the survey. And here’s a presentation that details the results specifically for the North American market.
Check out more IT channel news on SearchITChannel.com.]]>
The Smart Cubes bundle IBM hardware, OS and management software along with applications for specific customer types. IBM Business partners can furthter customize the appliance for their clients. Last month, IBM and Intuit unveiled a new Smart Cube that runs Linux or the IBM I (OS/400) operating system, appropriate middleware and Intuit’s popular QuickBooks Enterprise accounting software.
With this deal Ingram Micro, IBM’s largest distribution partner, is the first to offer Smart Cubes in the U.S. In many cases with such deals, Tech Data or other distributors soon follow suit.
Smart Cubes come out of IBM’s new Smart Business group. Smart Cubes are only available to authorized IBM channel partners.]]>
This despite the fact that almost half of the 328 respondents, or 48 percent, believe that local government doesn’t support their efforts and 39 percent have the same opinion about the federal government. Think about where all the stimulus money is going, and I challenge you not to feel the same way. (The people surveyed included a mix of CEOs and other C-level titles, but it wasn’t specifically focused on technology executives.)
Incidentally, about 36 percent of these respondents indicated that they believed the economy would rebound in mid-2010. Another 25 percent thought it would happen a little sooner, at the end of 2009.
The study, which is titled “Understanding Growth Priorities of Small and Medium-sized Businesses,” provides some valuable insight as to the role of technology in the recovery. Approximately 57 percent of the executives who were survey “agree or strongly agree” that technology will be a huge deciding factor in their ability to emerge successfully from this recession.
Here are their top three goals:
About 20 percent said they would invest more heavily in innovative technology that would help them leapfrog their competitors.
Slightly more than half the respondents said future IT projects will focus on technologies to improve business processes; about one-third of them said that VARs, applications and systems integrators would be critical in achieving their technology goals.
You can download a copy of the survey at this link.]]>
Microsoft Corporate Vice President Allison Watson, who runs the company’s worldwide channel programs, is focused on finetuning her programs not just to help channel partners find opportunities in today’s wacky market but also to help them keep their own businesses healthy at a time when accounts receivable are growing longer by the day and banks tighten up their lending criteria. Based on some comments on heard the other day about the accelerating pace of mergers and acquisitions and failures out there in channel-land, she is right to worry about whether the company will exist 2009 with the right channel capacity.
Earlier this year, Microsoft commissioned a study of more than 600 Microsoft Small Business Specialists in five different countries to help its entire small-business channel get a better handle on current market activity. The good news, which is published as part of its first Microsoft SMB Insight Report, is that 55 percent of small and midsize businesses (the ubiquitous SMB community we always hold up as the holy grail) will either maintain or increase their spending during the next seven months.
Just in case you were thinking that virtualization and IT consolidation were topics only for big enterprise accounts, the study found that more than half of the Small Business Specialists participating in the survey believed that virtualization and other consolidate measures were the key to helping their customers save money and therefore commit portions of their IT budgets to new projects.
This jibes with some anecdotal information I picked up earlier this year when I was studying the concept of virtualization for smaller companies. Turns out that many of you are jumping right in there with your smaller clients, not just because it can help your customer but because it makes things easier for you to manage over time.
CRM deployments were also seen as beneficial projects for SMB customers. Moreover, nearly 40 percent of the Microsoft Small Business Specialists expected an increase in business intelligence deployments. That one really bears some more investigation, because we all know what a bust BI has been among larger companies. Everyone KNOWS they want it, but the pain in getting it set up (especially when it comes to process change) is so great that few are willing to succumb. Especially now when they need it most.
The survey respondents also expected a 20 percent rise in the number of SMBs opting to use software as a service options for some of their applications.
Here’s the link where you can pull down the complete study.
Watson offers a navigation through the data, along with some tips on how Microsoft partners can improve their own business practices in a Webcast. Here’s a link to the archived version.]]>
EDS today called itself the world’s largest Microsoft CRM hosting partner. With 180 data centers supporting untold numbers (really, they’re untold) of hosted Microsoft CRM customers. Overall, EDS says it oversees 3.3 million Windows desktops and 100,000 Windows servers.
The CRM news isn’t shocking, given that a year ago pretty much to the day, EDS called itself Microsoft CRM’s enterprise partner of choice. But Monday’s press release brings up Microsoft Business Solutions’ conundrum. In the early years of MBS, just after Microsoft’s 2001 buyout of Great Plains and then Navision, the company was careful to position itself as an ERP-then-CRM provider to SMBs. Later it refined that message to appeal to departments of larger companies and the spokes of hub-and-spoke organizations. Much of that was out of respect to ERP partner (and at one point merger target SAP.) After that proposed deal fell through, Microsoft started being more open about its enterprise ambitions. EDS, which typically serves big companies, helps there.
Microsoft could use Convergence 2009 this week to launch a more aggressive enterprise foray. What better time than this crappy economic downturn to point out the costs of Oracle and/or SAP ERP and CRM implementations? On the other hand, rivals could argue that the full Microsoft stack—required for its business apps—really isn’t so cheap at all.
An interesting aside on this EDS thing: The Plano, Texas-based services giant is now part-and-parcel of Hewlett Packard. HP was once a huge Lotus Notes shop. I don’t recall the sequence, but suffice it to say, IBM acquired Lotus, IBM competes with HP in hardware and services, and an HP executive last week actually asked if Lotus Notes/Domino was still on the market. The independent EDS also had a huge Notes practice. Keep that in mind when you hear of these massive vendor alliances. They’re usually transient at best.