Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) play a significant role in growing the economy, and are a crucial contributor to the GDP. There has been an unprecedented increase in the small business market in recent years. Approximately 75 percent of all businesses in North America are classified as SMBs. With technology emerging as a key driver, the demand for IT services in the SMB sector is growing at a rapid rate. This has opened a wide range of business opportunities for national technology brands.
SMB IT Support: Needs and Market Opportunity
Studies indicate that 45% of SMBs do not have a dedicated IT staff and do not use IT consultants. Research shows that a mere 7% of SMBs have an onsite computer technician, while 52% rely on third-party companies to solve their IT problems. One of the common reasons why most SMBs do not have dedicated in-house IT resources is the high cost involved.
Since most SMBs lack dedicated 24/7 IT support and are dependent on value-added resellers (VARs) or local IT resources, it often becomes difficult for SMBs to have technology issues resolved in a timely and efficient manner.
According to the Office Depot Small Business Index published last year, 48% of SMBs took 2-3 days to get their computers repaired, and 67% of SMBs admit that technology issues have hindered them from doing their job.
In order to run their business operations in a smooth manner, SMBs need a different, comprehensive, and cost-effective IT support solution. There is a developing market opportunity for national technology brands to service SMB IT needs via an affordable, cloud-based technology solution.
SMBs recognize that technology support is critical to running their businesses in an effective manner. Even though the IT infrastructure in SMBs is small, technology issues are common and have significant impact on business productivity.
Research indicates that 75% of respondents have had a computer repaired at some point in time. The majority of these repairs are due to virus/malware issues (43%) or hardware issues (40%). While most SMBs have technology issues, the survey shows having onsite resources available to address these issues is very rare.
Waterstone Management Group estimates the market opportunity for tech services aimed at SMBs (companies with less than 20 employees) is estimated to grow at 9% annually, exceeding $40B by 2015.
The Benefits of National Brands Offering IT Support Program to SMBs
National brands are proactively looking for ways to deepen customer relationships with their consumer and small business customers. Technology services help to establish an on-going interaction with small business customers and thus present additional opportunities to market other services. Technology services also offer national brands a competitive differentiator. Finally, services can help to establish a national brand as a leader in technology by offering their customers a more complete solution.
How Disruptive Technologies Can Facilitate the Entry of National Brands to Service SMB IT Needs
Disruptive technologies such as cloud-based technology support and remote service delivery platforms are the key facilitating factors for national technology brands to enter the SMB IT market with a cost-effective and practical solution. Some fundamental advantages of these IT disruptive technologies are:
- Affordability: The cost of delivering remote SMB IT support is affordable compared to on-site support delivery.
- Availability: Remote technology support is provided immediately to SMBs in a secure manner.
- Accessibility: Unlike VARs or local IT resources, SMBs can have access to IT support round-the-clock, 24/7- 365 days a year!
- Comprehensive: SMB IT needs can be met in a comprehensive way by providing support for a wide range of devices ranging from workstations and servers to mobile devices.
- Tailored: National technology brands can benefit SMBs by offering customized support to meet their IT needs.
Comprehensive technology services offerings not only offer SMBs affordable and reliable IT support, but also help national technology brands create new revenue streams.