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Cisco & Dell feel Small-Biz Tech Market Poised For Growth November 8, 2010

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Social Media.

Dell Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. see the elusive small and midsize market as the land of opportunity as business owners embrace mobile devices and services delivered via the Web.

The biggest challenge in selling technology to SMBs is the complexity of making it work. They don’t want to be IT people. we all understand that.

The other big challenge is that each small business is unique and owners want to do things their way. You have to allow for a customization at the very last point and such customization has to be easy to do.

While the top pain point lately in the SMB world has been the lack of access to capital, the vendors feel that this seems to be easing. Owners’ attention is returning to technology, where they have three main concerns: reaching customers, leveraging technology to grow the business, and security, especially as it relates to virtualization and cloud computing technology.

Clearly mobility is the buzzword these days, everyone wants access to the emerging mobile marketplace. It was only two years ago that sales of notebook computers eclipsed PCs in the SMB market, and now smartphone sales are poised to exceed laptop purchases. Like large companies, small businesses are concerned about managing and securing consumer devices that employees want to use at work.

Tablet computers are bound to be popular as well but vendors cautioned against making predictions about what devices SMBs will favor.

That said, however, most vendors see huge opportunities for SMBs to use tablets to access data and enter simple information, and he predicted “an explosion of capabilities for small business. Products such as the iPad, IPhone and Droid will drive the SMB market as owners find new applications that they like to use and could help their businesses. But these will need to be made robust and reliable because “somewhat flaky” services that consumers might tolerate won’t do for a small-business owner.

To accommodate what is bound to be a diversity of tastes regarding devices, and the fact that some devices are better for certain tasks and situations than others, Dell is creating a common interface that would look and work the same on an Android phone and a Windows PC. I personally feel it is about time the vendors pay closer attention to inter-operability.

While Cisco sells some of its gear to small businesses through retail stores,  it has typically concentrated on its distribution partners, who are getting in tune with the idea of selling services instead of equipment. Any application that requires servers on site is a candidate for the cloud. Business’ should realize that cloud computing is another industry buzz word for platform agnostic hosted services and hosted services can be considerably less expensive than the previous on-site server mentality.

SMB’s need to pay close attention to the customer’s they serve and their usage habits. More and more customers use mobile app’s to identify and buy products and services. If you haven’t already, you need to get on board and reach your customers.

TelUs Consulting Services can help. Thru a new partnership with Appstronauts, a mobile app and web site developer, we can assist in guiding you thru this new and sometimes expensive opportunity to reach YOUR mobile customers.

Joe Buck, N.C.E.

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