With enterprises technology spend grinding to a halt and average selling prices plummeting in the consumer segment, the small and medium sized business (SMB) sector has become an attractive new target market for the IT industry’s larger resellers and technology retailers.
This has meant that the small and medium sized business market faces the strong possibility of being snatched away from the small, one or two man reseller shops that have traditionally made a modest yet stable living from the provision of ultra-tailored solutions.
“Some of these resellers will see this as a death sentence and batten down the hatches for a tough couple of months ahead,” says Traci Maynard, GM of Tarsus Technologies’ software division.
“Others will see it as an opportunity to provide their customers with reinforced motivation for the value they provide. And being part of the latter group of resellers comes down to providing the right solutions for the right customer needs,” she says.
Maynard says there’s a historical reason the small and medium sized business sector has been serviced by specialist players.
“And that reason isn’t difficult to find. To be blunt, it’s quite simply that one size doesn’t fit all.”
Unfortunately, larger resellers and technology retailers have traditionally made their money from the provision of relatively generic products and services for the masses.
And that’s something that flies directly in the face of what small and medium sized businesses require from their technology partners.
“Small and medium sized businesses require individual attention and tailored solutions. It’s something that takes specialist expertise, and by providing their customers with the right solutions, small and medium sized resellers will continue to be successful,” she says.
Maynard says that she’s just returned from a Microsoft conference held in Los Angeles, and one of the key messages delivered was that there’s a ton of opportunity within Microsoft’s product portfolio that small and medium sized resellers can use to excite and delight their customers.
“Solutions that help resellers achieve on goals such as server virtualisation, simplified infrastructure management and even hosted or cloud-based delivery for applications are at the forefront of what’s on offer.
“Add to that the fact that Microsoft has realised how dependent small and medium sized businesses are on out-of-the-office connectivity and in turn, that it’s started working with vendors in the portable computing (notebook, netbook and slate) space to create seamless solutions to this challenge, and there’s another opportunity on offer,” she adds.
“Lastly, round that out with small and medium sized business specific tools, such as a bespoke portal that allows smaller resellers access to customisable, ready-made marketing materials that can drive their value proposition to the market, and it’s clear that Microsoft is becoming serious about this sector of the market.
“All things considered, where some small business resellers see a threat, I see an opportunity. And those that focus on the latter will reap the rewards,” she concludes.