SMBs present a lucrative, yet underserved, customer segment for telecoms operators

bcsglogo-main2LONDON, TUESDAY 23rd SEPTEMBER: Fresh insight from leading cloud services marketplace provider, BCSG reveals the significant rewards on offer to telecoms operators interested in diversifying their offer to SMB customers. An independent study of 500 SMBs spanning the UK and US suggests that telecoms operators are ideally placed to benefit from surging demand amongst SMBs for cloud services.

The results come at a time when operators globally face ongoing pressure to retain and grow high ARPU users such as SMBs. Yet confusion persists amongst SMBs over the most appropriate cloud services to select and those best suited to their needs. Encouragingly for operators therefore, of all SMBs surveyed:

43 per cent of all UK and US SMB respondents confirmed that they would be willing to purchase cloud services from their incumbent service provider 40 per cent of UK and US SMBs are openly willing to purchase software and tools from operators to help them grow their business Based on market forecasts* of the UK and US SMB cloud services
market, this firm intent from SMBs could be worth more than $22 billion to UK and US operators collectively

“The results of the study prove what we’ve known for a long time,” says Tom Platt, Commercial Director at BCSG. “Not only is the SMB market a potential goldmine for operators looking to add greater value to customers through service diversification, they also present a captive and willing audience. It is vital that operators seize the initiative by helping their SMB customers realise the value of cloud services and business applications.”

A clear trend of diversification already exists with around a third of US and UK SMBs already receiving help and guidance from their telecoms operators on hosting and business applications. Operators face a largely untapped market to capitalise on, given only 31 per cent of SMBs currently have a cloud migration strategy in place.

Platt continues: “Healthy dialogue already exists between SMBs and operators on key technology decisions. But at the same time, confusion persists amongst SMBs on what cloud innovation can offer and why they should adopt business apps. Operators have a unique opportunity to provide support and guidance to SMBs and play a significant role in their ongoing prosperity.”

Yet the study also warns operators on the dangers of complacency when managing their SMB customer relationships. Of those SMBs questioned:

42 per cent of US and UK SMBs receive no help from their telecoms operators whatsoever more than half (58 per cent) of SMBs would switch operators for access to a broader range of technology and services 52 per cent of SMBs will contemplate switching operators in the next two years.

Platt concludes: “Long tenure from SMB customers does not imply loyalty – and operators can’t afford to be complacent. These results demonstrate the value of operators broadening their service offering to SMBs. This should see operators accelerate their plans to offer a fuller range of cloud services, including business apps, to SMBs and drive new revenues and better customer retention.”