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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Cisco’s Master Plan for Seizing the SMB Market Opportunity

According to data from Techaisle, it is projected that the global IT expenditure of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will escalate to a staggering US$1.35 trillion by 2024. Furthermore, this spending is anticipated to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7%, extending through 2028. Cisco is making a significant push into the SMB market, a segment where it has enjoyed steady growth. In fiscal year 2023, which concluded in July, the SMB segment was Cisco’s top-performing customer category for a third consecutive year. Cisco sees this segment as a $25 billion addressable market opportunity, captured with mid to high-tier SMBs transitioning to cloud and SaaS solutions. Notably, about 20% of Cisco’s SMB business comes from new customers every year, underscoring this segment's critical role in expanding Cisco’s reach and reflecting on the growing demand for technology amongst SMBs.

Cisco’s go-to-market in the SMB segment is partner-led, catalyzed with continuous partner-focused programs, initiatives, and marketing investments to foster robust relationships. According to the latest research by Techaisle, a significant majority of SMBs, 87%, depend on their partners for technology solutions. Furthermore, these SMBs channel nearly 89% of their IT expenditure through these partners. Cisco is, therefore, continuously enhancing its engagement with partners, revamping its marketing strategies, and adapting to the changing needs of its customers. A vital part of this strategy is the focus on the new “Scale” go-to-market initiative, aligned to engaging SMB customers and Partners in this space, as unveiled at the company’s sales kickoff meeting in August. This model offers partners and customers enhanced sales and marketing support, ensuring that SMBs receive expert advice in crucial care-about areas such as cybersecurity or hybrid work.

The concept of “digital transformation” has become a staple in corporate discussions over the years. While some may write it off as a fad, many, particularly SMBs, understand its importance. For these businesses, digital transformation involves adopting digital technologies to streamline operations, improve customer relationships, and position themselves as agile and innovative entities in their respective fields. Techaisle data reveals that 71% of SMBs are investing in digital transformation, and 37% have a holistic digital strategy. SMBs, once perceived as technologically behind, are actively embracing cloud solutions to meet their IT requirements. These technologies have become crucial to their digital transformation journey, enabling them to automate various operational aspects and gain a competitive advantage through essential business process automation tools, orchestration, and integration or advanced offerings like custom AI and analytics applications hosted on cloud platforms.

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Mitel Unveils New DECT Phones and MiCollab Updates to Revolutionize Communication

Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) technology is a prime example of innovation and practicality in an era characterized by swift technological advancements. With its origins dating back to the latter half of the 20th century, DECT technology has evolved into a sophisticated communications network that redefines cordless phone communication standards. Mitel, a leading communication solutions provider, has been at the forefront of this evolution, offering DECT features such as over-the-air synchronization, enhanced signal strength, advanced security protocols, voice encryption, and reliable connectivity. The company’s commitment to innovation is further underscored by the impending launch of its 700d Series phones.

In addition to its DECT offerings, Mitel also provides the MiCollab app—a comprehensive communication solution designed to enhance collaboration. Among its many advanced features is Meetings—a multi-party video conferencing solution. The app’s most recent update (MiCollab 9.7 SP1) introduces several new features we will examine in detail.

Mitel: A Significant Player in the DECT Market

The global multicellular DECT market is fiercely competitive, with many companies competing for a share of the market. In 2022, Atos Utility and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise held 18% and 15% of the market share, respectively. Companies such as Ascom Wireless, Yealink, Snom, and Avaya each had less than 10% of the market. Mitel stood out as the market leader, holding approximately one-fifth of the market share by consistently providing modern, comprehensive, and reliable solutions.

As the DECT market continues to evolve, competitors are focusing on differentiating their products by introducing solutions specific to various industries, improving audio quality, and adding mobile features to meet the diverse needs of their clients. Organizations are looking for solutions tailored to their unique requirements, and DECT players are responding by delivering innovative communication solutions that meet and exceed expectations and enhance connectivity.

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Mitel's Customer Lifecycle Management: Streamlining Communication for Enhancing Customer Value and Partner Success

Mitel’s strategy is to provide more choice and flexibility than any other vendor. Unlike most communications vendors offering off-the-shelf solutions, Mitel’s unique approach provides customizable options for cloud, deployment, collaboration, and vertical applications. In addition, Mitel helps customers navigate their communications and collaboration journey through its Customer Lifecycle initiative.

Mitel understands the importance of CLM in adopting UC and has made it a critical initiative. Mitel provides partners and customers with extensive CLM, data, and analysis to effectively plan their communications and collaboration solutions as part of its business strategy.

Techaisle data shows that 47% of SMBs and 49% of core & upper midmarket firms are focused on business resiliency enablement to manage change and uncertainty. At the same time, 27% of midsized businesses are targeting investments for growth and long-term success. In response to increasing business operating costs, economic uncertainty, and rising interest rates, customers are seeking communication solutions that are both flexible, effective, and affordable long term. Further, the shift towards hybrid work has increased the requirements of unified communications (UC) systems connecting individuals in different locations. 32% of SMBs and 22% of upper midmarket firms’ employees are expected to be hybrid. Updating UC systems to meet these changing requirements can be complex.

Future-ready businesses are seeking communications solutions that are agile, adaptive, transformative, flexible, and empowering. Thus, many organizations require guidance on the most efficient ways to invest in and modernize communication solutions. This is where customer lifecycle management (CLM) comes into play. By aligning an organization's goals with the UC technology being adopted or upgraded, CLM helps streamline the UC adoption process, ensuring that communication solutions are optimized to meet business objectives. As a result, CLM helps organizations maximize business value for customers and future-proof their investment in UC.

Mitel's approach to CLM

Mitel has differentiated itself from its competitors in the communication solutions industry by adopting a customer-centric approach that provides flexibility and choice throughout the communications lifecycle. Its CLM approach is designed to support customers using on-premise, hybrid, or cloud solutions. It has two main strategies – UC (communication and collaboration tools) and migrations (moving customers from on-premise or hybrid solutions to the cloud) – to ensure customers receive value and flexibility, regardless of their current solution.

Mitel's CLM approach focuses on delivering customer value in three key areas. Firstly, it adds value to existing customers' businesses by understanding their needs through innovative analytics. Secondly, it targets vertical markets such as healthcare, hospitality, state, local, and education (SLED), which require a private or hybrid cloud model due to security and regulatory requirements. Lastly, its strategic partnership with RingCentral helps customers migrate to public cloud solutions when most appropriate per their needs.

Techaisle survey data reveals that organizations have unique communications needs with a mix of infrastructures: on-prem, public cloud, private cloud, or a hybrid solution. A one-size-fits-all approach is only viable for some. It is a customer choice issue. Today, on-premises UC solutions are dominant, with 88% of organizations using some on-premises UC solutions. However, 44% are combining on-prem solutions with cloud solutions. Cloud communications solutions are also on their long-term plans, with 47% either evaluating or moving their on-prem communications to the cloud. However, customer choice and complexity create decision inertia for 64% of firms. Hence partners become the guiding beacon to manage the customer communications adoption lifecycle.

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Zoho Workplace may well be the employee experience platform we have been missing

On February 8th, 2023, Zoho unveiled its unified communications platform, Trident, a Zoho Workplace that offers businesses easier ways to communicate across channels, improve employee experience, enhance organizational productivity, and accelerate business transformation by combining collaboration, productivity, and communication tools. “Distributed,” “remote,” and “hybrid” – these are the realities of today’s workforce. Businesses are increasingly using technology to provide cohesion within the workforce. Businesses that have adopted unified workspace technology believe strongly that it contributes to productivity by providing a single workspace, delivering better access to applications and resources from which employees can accomplish most of their daily work. The Zoho Workplace, five years in development before employee experience became imperative, is one solution that can replace multiple products such as Slack, Trello, Zoom, Monday, DocuSign, Grammarly, and even M365/Google Workspace. Techaisle’s analysis of current and planned cloud workloads underscores the importance of contextual, collaborative capabilities within business applications. Each product mentioned addresses a specific business requirement but is not seamlessly interconnected to provide a cohesive experience without customization and integration overheads.

In the wake of great resignation, robust job market, and paucity of skill sets, businesses are prioritizing employee experience. For example, Techaisle’s latest research shows that deploying employee experience solutions is a priority for 60% of small businesses, 88% of core midmarket, and 96% of upper midmarket firms. These firms are using digitalization initiatives for employee empowerment and are digitally transforming to support employees. Many factors drive productivity, including management approaches, processes and practices, and collaboration/synergy across activities and functions. But technology is a pivotal contributor to productivity – directly and through its ability to positively affect processes and collaboration. This is the target market that Zoho is addressing. Zoho Workplace has more than 16 million users and is growing at 30%+ year-on-year.

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