As I noted in my previous post, the Small Business Administration (SBA), estimates that 66% of small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners and leaders are responsible for everything in their businesses, from operations and finance to sales, marketing, human resources, and customer service. Oh, and they also have to take care of IT.
We have entered a world in which the needs, intensity, and sophistication that SMB companies must have mirror those of enterprise-class customers (even though they don’t have a bag of cash sitting around for IT solutions). This is driven by the mature arrival of cloud, the full arrival of digitization, and the need for sophisticated cybersecurity, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and prescriptive and predictive analytics.
As a result, every value-added reseller (VAR) knows that today’s SMB needs right-sized value offerings, yet, ironically and paradoxically, the SMB market remains underserved or even unserved by most of the major technology companies. Here’s the scenario: The end customer has evolved and wants the opportunity to get into this world of cloud and digitization, but they need a simple version of it all. It can’t require a lot of management, and it’s got to be easy and fast to install. They want to consume it as they use it. SMB end customers, in particular, don’t have huge bundles of cash to install a big hyperconverged data center or a cybersecurity play. They don’t have the money or capital to just reach in their pocket and fund it like their bigger counterparts, so they want to consume it is as they go – as a service.
They also can’t have solutions that require a very full IT staff, because most SMB customers just don’t have one. They might have a few people on staff, and, maybe, one person is good at networking. They still must figure out storage and cybersecurity, and they don’t have a bag of money to train, hire or install all of this. They need the “easy button” for all of this – they want cloud, but they want it delivered simply and not IT-resource intensive.
The reseller is in a similar situation. First and foremost, SMB VARs need avenues for providing easy to sell IT in the ways their customers want to consume IT all while creating revenue opportunities quickly. The days of selling stacks of blinky boxes and data center gear and making healthy profits are gone. SMB VARs need to rotate into this recurring revenue model, and Comstor has been organically designing, codifying, reiterating, and refining our SMB offers with major vendors, because we are able to do it in a way they cannot.
Neither the SMB nor the VAR can say, “We want to get into the Hyper Converged data center, so we are going to invest the next nine months to build that practice, get certified, and hire a couple of engineers.” Even with that, they are eight-to-nine months away from revenue that will help them cash flow it. That just won’t work for them. A solution is tapping into the Cisco bundled solution – Cisco Simple IT – that allows them to start fast, start making money fast, and get into the Cisco business at the same time.
Now they can sell something in the way their customers want and need it, allowing them to have all that they need – from cloud to AI and predictive analytics – and pay as they consume it. On the end-customer side, that offers competitive opportunities and the chance to add things as they grow while they stay within the ratio of their operating budget. For the VAR, it offers all of that, plus an opportunity to create recurring revenue quickly – a must for those in the SMB space.