The SME and SOHO markets are increasingly becoming an important sector for vendors and resellers to consider when looking for ongoing sustainable business opportunities.

Jim Holland, HP ISS product manager: Axiz, explains that SMEs have emerged as significant players on the server scene and need to be regarded as such.
Holland says that infrastructure developers like HP are increasingly targeting SMEs and SoHos as a market all on their own.
“What we’re seeing is the latest technologies being scaled down for SMEs and priced accordingly. Quad core is the perfect example of this. The price-performance benefits of quad core in the server market are no longer the exclusive domain of larger corporates. HP’s latest range of servers all feature the latest quad core technology – from entry level through to those designed for large enterprises,” says Holland.
He adds that this is because key players in this space are realising the value they can add to a SME.
“No matter the size of a business, price and performance will always be considerations for management. We’re seeing the same need for speed and utilisation in the SME space as you’d expect in that of bigger companies.”
Holland adds that blades are also starting to feature in SMEs. “As demand for blades increases, we’re seeing a push from players like HP to create more awareness about blades and their corresponding infrastructure in the SME market. The market has already responded very well to these.”
As to what is driving the server uptake in SMEs, Holland says that this has to do with server technology becoming far more “SME-friendly”.
“Servers and their maintenance are no longer as daunting as they used to be for small companies. This is thanks to the intelligent approach being taken towards smaller enterprises: making technology easy to adopt and easy to understand. HP for instance has ensured that its entry level servers in particular are easily configured and come complete with management tools as well as a care pack offering where the client is able to choose the type of support package they need.”
Distributors like Axiz are then adding even more value to server packages in the market by facilitating support for SMEs.
“You have to remember that a SME is looking for availability, manageability and performance when it comes to investing in a server. It wants the latest technology and features in its server, and needs to know that these come backed with high levels of support and expertise. We believe this is a crucial value-add from our side – creating peace of mind creates customer delight, and a customer for life.”
As to the strategic approach being taken by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) regarding SMEs, Holland explains Axiz believes they warrant a strategy all of their own.
“Critical for a SME client is that you have both the resources needed and the stock available. Availability thus features very prominently in our strategy. We’re also value-driven; enabling the client to realise the price-performance benefits the particular server offers. Naturally, coupled to this is an extremely strong level of support – assisting the client to select the best type of server and technology for their environment and individual needs.”
With servers taking their rightful place in the SME market, smaller enterprises looking to OEMs for strategic solutions in this regard can now rest assured that these are available – and come with all the support they need. This will undoubtedly serve to bolster our SME sector and the services they can offer even further, making it not only good news for them but also for our economy.