By David Smith, General Manager of Worldwide SMB
Let’s talk about a catch-22 that many business owners find themselves in – and it doesn’t matter the size of the company or the type of business they own. They recognize the value of adopting technology to better run their business, but they have a hard time determining the exact technology solutions that meet the needs of their unique companies and staff.
In fact, according to a recent survey by CompTIA, 47 percent of small businesses are only moderately close or not at all close to where they want to be in terms of utilizing technology to improve their business.
Two areas of technology that commonly vex small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders these days are cloud and mobile. They know they want to take advantage, and many have started to leverage these technologies, but with so many options, which one is the best for your business?
At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando this week, more than 11,000 of our best and brightest technology partners converged to figure out how to help businesses solve their technology and business challenges. And among lots of exciting news and discussion, two announcements in particular promise to have an impact on small businesses looking to gain an edge.
Cloud Solutions That Meet the Unique Needs of Your Company
The first announcement involves Microsoft’s Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program. In addition to Office 365, Windows Intune and Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), CSP partners can now offer SMB customers Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. So not only do SMBs have access to more cloud-based tools, but they can have them all bundled in one simple bill from a single vendor, who becomes their hands-on partner in cloud computing.
The benefit of working with a cloud solution partner — like Eastridge or Palmetto Technology Group, for example — is that they can help you choose and onboard the tools you need to achieve a variety of business goals, from better collaboration to better customer management. And with a partner managing these tools, business leaders can focus on other tasks, like acquiring new customers and growing your business.
In a recent survey of SMBs conducted by Deloitte, heavy cloud users saw 26 percent faster growth and 21 percent higher profit than companies that don’t utilize the cloud.
Finding a partner to help you answer the “how” part of the cloud is really important. Because the answer to the “why” question is clear: In a recent survey of SMBs conducted by Deloitte, heavy cloud users saw 26 percent faster growth and 21 percent higher profit than companies that don’t utilize the cloud. And two-thirds of all SMBs surveyed believe that the cloud allows them to beat their competitors.
Mobility is another area of vast potential for SMBs. According to IDC, SMBs that experience revenue growth are 54 percent more likely than average to have made supporting mobile workers a priority. Mobile devices and mobile management services like Intune untether people from their desks, freeing them to work on the go — whether that’s in route to a customer meeting, during a daily commute or even just from the balcony or a different room in the office.
Take Dan Prud’homme of Carolina Realty Group as an example. Through Windows devices and cloud services like Office 365, his office is nearly paperless, and he’s powering a truly mobile workforce that connects more quickly and reliably both in the office and out in the field. He also uses Skype to showcase and sell homes to potential buyers who can’t see a property in-person – all via his phone or tablet.
Other companies are using Microsoft Surface tablets to arm employees with more information, better resources and mobile points-of-sale on the show floor. Alex Shvartzman, owner of Brooklyn-based Kings Games, has noticed this having a positive impact on sales. Since his employees can call up product reviews, research information on specific games and ring up sales all using one device, a customer asking a question quickly and easily turns into a customer making a purchase.
According to IDC, SMBs that experience revenue growth are 54 percent more likely than average to have made supporting mobile workers a priority.
Which brings us to the second big announcement coming out of WPC this week: Microsoft is increasing the number of partners that can sell Surface globally. And the big advantage for SMBs is that partners can provide Surface tablets with the exact apps and functionality their customers need. So rather than trying to build a smooth-running mobile point-of-sale system piece by piece, you can work with one technology partner who handles the device as well as the apps and integration. And that technology provider will also offer service and support for all of your Surface devices.
This week’s announcements give SMBs of all stripes, from a small retailer with five employees to a pharmaceutical research company with 50 employees, even greater access to game-changing technology and best practices. Being considered a “small” business is no longer a disadvantage. Smaller companies are having big impact nowadays and Microsoft and our technology partners are here to help.