Black Friday for Small Businesses? Why Not?

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Quick Trivia: A company in NYC with less than 10 employees is out of paper for printing. What would they do?

Contact a service provider sitting 5000 miles away who provides managed print services.

Walk across the street and buy a bundle from Staples.

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According to AMI’s Global Model, 30% of IT hardware procured by small businesses in the United States is through a retail channel such as Best Buy or directly from a vendor.

(Click here for an interactive demo of AMI’s Global Model)

Due to the lack of simple procurement solutions and the proliferation of e-commerce, small businesses continue to buy IT hardware through consumer-focused channels. The trend is likely to continue until we see a ground up change in the way Channel Partners target small businesses.

As the buying behavior of small businesses continue to align with consumers, companies can target small businesses using marketing strategies that are developed for consumer holiday seasons

Would it work for me?

Dell Inc. appears to have identified a market. The company has been putting out black Friday and holiday season ads specifically targeting small businesses.

Is Black Friday the only time?

For businesses, there could be many buying seasons like budgetary or quarterly cycles, conference seasons, industry events such as Google IO, Worldwide Developer Conference. But most companies attending industry events have small businesses at the tail end of their priority list. They generally market solutions for medium or large businesses.

Consumer focused events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, provide an opportunity to tap into small businesses that have similar buying patterns to individual shoppers. Such businesses typically do not have the resources to contract with Channel Partners or sign long term agreements.

In Conclusion

A sale to small business is not always via a lengthy sales pitch and long-term contract. There is still quite a lot of interest in “Buy It Now” products, it’s only a matter of identifying these businesses.

Learn more

Ask us about small business buying patterns and behaviors. Find out the most preferred purchase channel for your product category. Email us at ask_ami@ami-partners.com

~Karthik Pannala, Associate

Got MSP?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are upping the stakes in the current cloud land grab. By rapidly expanding their portfolio of service offerings they expect to capture larger share of wallet. Their customers are aligned with this approach as they seek out full-service providers able to meet all their technology needs.

A Growing Market

By 2021 MSPs will deliver close to 25% of all technology products and services globally, up from 18% today. This is an impressive business transformation story – thousands of IT resellers and systems integrators (most of them small companies with less than $10M in revenues) have displayed a clear vision and competent leadership in enhancing their organizations’ capabilities and infrastructure to keep revenues growing in this challenging business climate.

The number of MSPs worldwide will grow from 50,000 to 75,000 between 2016-2021, with the total IT products/services they deliver growing from $500 billion to over $1 trillion during the same time.

Their services portfolios, which initially included pure infrastructure services such as storage, security essentials, compute power, web hosting, and application hosting, have now grown to include value add and higher margin services such as disaster recover/business continuity, e-discovery, vulnerability assessment, compliance management, application management, SaaS, and mobile device management among others.

Business Challenges

Despite being in a high growth business, MSPs face tough challenges which require constant attention and fine tuning of their business models. Some of the top challenges are:

  • Differentiating their services from those of other MSPs is a top priority to counter margin erosion and hyper-competition.
  • Absorbing newer technologies, tools, and solutions, packaging them for client consumption, and providing follow up services requires a constant learning and training.
  • Investing in datacenters is yet another critical challenge, which is often detrimental to smaller MSPs.

How Technology Vendors Can Help

Technology solution vendors that are supplying to MSPs can often play a big role in helping MSPs address these challenges. By fully understanding the nature of MSPs operational and business needs, vendors can design their products and programs to enable their MSP customers to win in the market-place.

Key features can be built into products and programs to make them a nuts-to-bolts solution, or packaged to work with other third-party solutions typically used by MSPs. Examples of the types of features that MSPs would like vendors to include in their solutions are:

  • Automation of overall solutions architecture.
  • Automation of customer on-boarding and migration processes.
  • Dynamic and predictive throughput/capability scaling.
  • Performance monitoring and predictive dashboards and controls.
  • Vertical industry-specific sales, marketing, and technical know how.
  • Vertical industry-specific compliance and reporting features.
  • Online university – modular online training videos and certification.

These are some of the insights we have uncovered in our tracking of the worldwide MSP segment. For additional insights and a detailed description of our MSP tracking service and various deliverables click here.

Alternatively, please email John Rezac (jrezac@ami-partners.com) for more details or to schedule a webinar that will walk you through our MSP coverage and insights.

~Deepinder Sahni, SVP