A small business owner is mostly concerned about operations improvement. An SMB sees real value in avoiding the purchase of servers and software until absolutely needed. Additionally, most SMBs use cloud services for customer database management, sales tracking, accounting, payroll, email and other critical business functions. Therefore, adding Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is not a difficult decision. As I posited during the recent Channel Partners show in Chicago it is more a question of how we introduce the value proposition of the service to that small business owner that determines the speed with which the technology adoption or sale takes place. A small business wants to look like a larger business and that is accomplished by focusing on Business Operations improvement. Not surprising but the most desired and used feature of a hosted communications solution is “Music on Hold”. The major elements as related to UCaaS are as follows:
- Conferencing (mostly audio)
- Integrated communications for mobile employees
- Integrated applications and features
- Ease of use
- Cost savings
- Productivity Improvements
- Reliable Service
While it is true that the adoption of virtualization technology is growing amongst all business, please note that while 90% of enterprises use the technology in some form, it represents only around 5% of their IT services or applications. Enterprises continue to seek assurances that hosted technologies are secure, can be integrated into existing business process and will track the future needs of the enterprise. Premises based solutions will continue to be the most desired option for enterprises for some years to come.
Therefore, the message to most VARs and agents continues to be, “Target the SMBs”. They have already internalized the value of cloud computing. They just need to know you can provide a hosted UC solution that is customized to their requirements and budget.