Cloud Service Providers in India need to be ready for SMB boom

India SMB spending on ICT products and services is anticipated to reach $52B by 2019, up from $31B in 2015. The key IT segments driving this growth include IT services, software, security and storage – all having a high compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 20% over the next 4 years (2015-2019). These findings have emerged from the 2015 India SMB ICT & Cloud Services Tracker Overview study by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

AMI’s study indicates that the combined mobility and cloud share of wallet is expected to increase from 36% in 2015 to almost 50% by 2019 – triggered largely by rapid growth in smartphone sales (and related data plan expenses), and the growing deployment of software as a service (SaaS) applications, remotely managed IT services (RMITS) and unified communications services (UCS). The key trend to this rapid rise in growth is that SMBs are expected to embrace new-age emerging solutions, somewhat at the expense of more conventional and legacy ICT solutions.

In the future, web-based/mobile applications as well as various on-demand and cloud-based services are likely to drive a majority of the SMB ICT opportunity in India. These cloud/mobility solutions will significantly enhance the speed at which SMBs conduct business and deliver productivity.

“Value-added services tied to their specific needs have been the discriminating factors for technology adoption for SMBs in India,” commented Partha Sarathi Sengupta, AVP at AMI. “Commensurate with the growth of SMBs, there is a need to manage greater data volumes coupled with a demand for greater business integration and a gradual transition towards new-age technologies from long-standing legacy systems,” Mr. Sengupta continued.

Hybrid deployments will be the norm in the India SMB space; requiring high-quality managed and cloud services. Clients will want their channel partners to strategically support their business around cloud and mobile applications, IaaS, social media and big data.

SMBs are turning to cloud service providers expecting these providers to be experts at selecting the right cloud services for their business. However, the satisfaction level of SMBs with their cloud services providers (CSPs) can at best be termed moderate. The AMI survey found a large majority (around 68% of SBs & 57% of MBs) are non-committal when asked about their satisfaction with their present provider with 17% of SBs and 18% of MBs have clearly voiced dissatisfaction.

“This is a wake-up call for CSPs to improve customer services – as many as 14% of SBs and 21% of MBs cancelled their cloud contracts last year,” said Mr. Sengupta. “Increased investment by OEMs to improve cloud technical expertise of their partners will allow their channel partners to become more familiar with the technical aspect of cloud-based services,” concluded Mr. Sengupta.

AMI’s recently published “2015 India SMB ICT & Cloud Services Tracker Overview” provides marketing and product executives the insights to effectively enhance/tweak their go-to-market approach within India SMBs for a greater bottom line impact.

The study examines India SMBs’ business needs, including ICT priorities, purchase channel preferences and buying behavior at a granular level. The analysis also delves into numerous individual ICT categories (e.g. computing hardware & networking infrastructure, software, security, storage and internet/telecommunications) – both cloud and on-premise solutions. It further provides a clear sense of the overall market opportunity/outlook for each and the forces shaping that specific category. Shifts in the India SMB ICT landscape – including purchase channels – are highlighted and illustrate how vendors can best leverage those shifts to deliver solutions profitably.

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