In the fast-growing U.S. Cloud services market, hosters are poised to take advantage of their relevant experience and strong customer relationships to become a leading purchase channel for small and medium businesses (SMBs, companies with less than 999 employees).
SMB investments in Cloud services (including IaaS, SaaS, web hosting, UC and remotely managed IT services (RMITS)) in the U.S. are expected to reach $34 billion in 2012, with 46 percent of that spend flowing through hosters.
This is according to AMI-Partners’ most recent Worldwide SMB Routes to Market Model and 2012 U.S. Hosters’ SMB Cloud Opportunity Playbook.
For SMBs, the promise of the Cloud continues to strike a chord. Two areas where these firms see clear benefits, and are aggressively moving to the Cloud, are hosted infrastructure, such as servers and storage, and remote management of IT systems and related applications.
SMBs have very limited, if any, internal staff dedicated to managing technology, so deploying these solutions in the Cloud, with the support of a trusted provider, is quickly becoming the norm.
Poor service can be a deal breaker
“A key reason that hosters are becoming a leading Cloud channel for SMBs is because they have proven they can effectively handle critical infrastructure, while providing the necessary level of support,” says Monik Sheth, Research Analyst at AMI-Partners.
“Poor service can be an immediate deal breaker for any company, and SMBs are no different.” In fact, according to the AMI study, nearly a third of SMBs said they would quickly switch their Cloud service provider if desired service levels are not met.
For hosters, their legacy of providing web and mail solutions to SMBs has prepared them well for expanding their portfolios into other Cloud-based services.
For more advanced Cloud deployment and migration needs, hosters are actively courting downstream channel partners like MSPs and ISVs, who can provide additional value-added services to SMBs. By developing these relationships, and offering integrated solutions coupled with RMITS, hosters are expected to play a leading role in enabling the growth of the SMB Cloud market.
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