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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.

Hybrid work is challenging the SMBs

Techaisle’s SMB and Midmarket Hybrid Work Adoption Trends survey indicates that 41% of SMBs plan a phased approach to return to the office, up from 22% in 2021. 20% of employees will likely work from home, in sharp contrast to 58% in 2021, similar to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when 29% of small business (1-99) employees, 9% of employees within midmarket firms (100-999), and 7% within upper-midmarket firms (1000-4999), who worked from home. Techaisle survey also shows that 42% of employees want to work 3-4 days per week from home.

Security, remote IT support, and unreliable networks continue to be significant technology challenges in managing remote workers. Remote IT support is an especially acute inhibitor for 46% of small businesses. On the people-side of the hybrid work equation, work-life conflict, maintaining team cohesiveness, and lack of training/career implications are dominant challenges. As a result, only 11% have a hybrid first mindset, but 37% believe they have mature remote work practices.

Team collaboration solutions, office collaboration tools (conference room devices), and remote worker collaboration devices (headsets, video cameras, etc.) are the top three priorities for 45% to 58% of SMBs. PC upgrades and refreshes to enable a hybrid workforce are the fourth top priority for 39% of SMBs.

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Red Hat Partner Program accelerating partner business velocity

Markets behave logically, and therefore channel partners exist for logical reasons. Channel partners are essential to intercepting demand, connecting technology to business outcomes, enabling efficiencies, and providing customer relevance. A sizable majority of IT industry sales are concluded through partners and are not likely to slow down soon. As we emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that the cloud has transformed the IT industry by its ability to provide agile transformation, resiliency, and adaptability. The market has shifted from discrete purchase-and-deploy deals aligned with refresh cycles to a 'hybrid IT' approach that blends a limited number of on-premise assets with a growing range of on-demand services. Application modernization, migration, cloud consulting services, and cloud managed services. Containers have become the PoC beachheads, small to enterprise firms are building the Edge. Techaisle data shows that the need for updated understandings of channel management imperatives has expanded beyond the tactical questions of sales or management metrics or marketing activities. There is a reason why I have written a long preamble before unfolding the main point of the Techaisle Take.

Red Hat is a platform company whose goal is to continue to deliver platforms and the relevant pieces around it that enable a customer to have the maximum flexibility and core capabilities for security, stability, and resiliency. In addition, these customers should be able to deploy applications faster and at scale. Therefore, its open hybrid cloud initiative has to have as broad a partner ecosystem as possible to deliver on Red Hat's promise. Red Hat is still Red Hat retaining its independence and neutrality, but its partner program is changing to tackle the ecosystem challenges. Red Hat has been listening to its partners. Red Hat's Stefanie Chiras, Sr. Vice-President, Partner Ecosystem Success is focusing on partner success. She and her team recognize that partners contribute to creating, shaping, defining demand – in some cases by making customers aware of a new category or product, in others by helping to define solution requirements or specifications. In the hybrid world, the solution deployment is based not on a specified hardware/software configuration but the orchestration of multiple on-demand services integrated with existing legacy systems - a liberating factor for the partner ecosystem in a meaningful sense.

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Zoho Creator Low-code platform blurring the IT-business divide to build, integrate applications, and analyze data

Coding is not everyone's inclination, yet there is a need to rapidly automate new workflows, generate new insights from scattered datasets, drive competitive advantage, improve customer interactions and make operational improvements. Low-code/no-code platforms such as Quickbase, Airtable, Microsoft Power platform, and Salesforce Lightning aim to equip and empower business users to be self-sufficient and agile to achieve their business objectives. But Zoho Creator Platform is different. It effortlessly enables both business and IT users to pursue their individual interests and is very well suited for the SMB and midmarket segments. It replaces the band-aiding of work processes with a permanent yet elastic fix to improve organizational efficiency. Business users can spin up applications. If IT needs to add additional complexity, the IT team can develop that through custom capabilities. Developers can write, store, and execute reusable code blocks in the Zoho Creator Platform using Deluge or Java or Node.js. These functions encourage IT and business teams to work together to build scalable and easily maintainable enterprise-ready apps faster. Developers can now launch solutions in different environments of choice—development, staging, or production, with a single click based on the application's readiness.

Most people associate Low-code with spreadsheet replacement, email replacement, automating, and digitizing them. Instead, the Zoho Creator Platform aims to help recreate processes to leverage everything a local platform can do in mobile, analytics, and governance.

Zoho Creator was introduced 15 years ago as an online database. Its latest version, Zoho Creator Platform, announced on March 3, 2022, aims to empower everyone to build applications solutions with a unified platform quickly. Specifically in the SMB and midmarket firms, IT is overloaded and has less time to codify new processes and modernize existing ones. Regardless, most organizations do not have well-defined business processes and want flexibility.

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SMB market is not monolithic, 46 percent of SMBs have advanced IT maturity

24% of small businesses, 52% of core midmarket firms, and 54% of upper midmarket firms are in the advanced IT maturity segments. Rapid and recent digital transformation has undoubtedly changed the IT maturity curves within the SMB market. Two years ago, only 16% of small businesses were in the advanced IT segment. 24% of firms are now in the Enterprise-level IT segment within the core midmarket, up from 14%. The enterprise-level IT SMB segment is growing at 1.5X that of Basic IT, and their IT spend is 1.4X of the Basic IT segment.

Employee size segments are not the only way of addressing the SMB market because the SMB market is not a monolith. SMB market consists of many segments, each of which has its unique approach to IT adoption. Suppliers who understand the scope and characteristics of these segments can expand their target markets and develop strategies geared to reaching high-potential SMB prospects. These suppliers ultimately have access to an expanded TAM and have the insight needed to align marketing investments with priority customers. The segmentation beyond employee sizes generates the most' run rate' revenue in the IT industry. When discussing IT industry growth opportunities, the focus often turns to earlier-stage technologies. Sellers of these technologies tend to focus on advanced segments (large accounts, particularly in leading-edge industries). They generally view SMBs as a secondary market, not realizing that SMBs and midmarket firms are full of opportunities. The Enterprise IT segment may focus on the same core issues that trouble its less-sophisticated peers but at a level of complexity that is very likely unique to this segment and similar to large enterprises. Enterprise IT is also the only segment that raises the challenge of connecting cloud and on-premise environments – an essential set in creating a hybrid IT environment.

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