The customer driven opportunity every SI needs to seize

As more and more mission-critical systems moved to locally run and cloud-based digital platforms, IT has become the nervous system and engine for nearly every business, regardless of its particular niche or vertical or even size.

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The customer driven opportunity every SI needs to seize Backup and disaster recovery, compliance management and security represent 400% year-over-year growth for the next four years in the Middle East. ((ITP Images))
By  Manda Banda Published  July 22, 2018

Once upon a time, organisations (small or large) viewed IT as a necessary evil and largely handled their technology needs in-house, adding network and endpoint management to the plates of an already over-taxed internal IT department. Over time, technology has advanced and the challenges have become increasingly more complex, so businesses have turned to trusted and knowledgeable third parties for these tasks so they could focus their internal IT energies on their core business processes.

As more and more mission-critical systems have moved to locally run and cloud-based digital platforms, IT has become the nervous system and engine for nearly every SMB, corporate or enterprise organisation regardless of its particular niche or vertical or even size. And because organisations today are so reliant on IT to do pretty much everything, they are investing in IT at an unprecedented rate. SMBs now account for 40% of all IT spending, which is a 10% increase as a percent of revenue since 2017.

Those SMBs aren’t just spending to catch up; they are recognising IT’s essential relationship to their business functions and how critical it is to their own success.

Whether it’s a doctor’s office, a law firm, a florist or a restaurant, businesses rely on dozens of applications being accessed on an ever-increasing number of endpoints.

For many of these businesses, endpoints no longer refer just to the computer on your desk and the server in the office supply closet; today, you have got people updating inventory on their smartwatches, checking in patients on tablets, and sending files from their smartphones. Over the last two years, the number of devices per person has increased 30%, and there is still room to grow for those existing device types as well as emerging categories, such as smart speakers and others we haven’t even seen yet.

The increase in the sheer volume of endpoints – not to mention their increasing variety – has helped push endpoint management from an edge case to a norm in just a decade.

However, with any business opportunity, an untapped market rarely remains such for long. As endpoint management becomes standard operating procedure, the blue ocean has gotten murkier, and systems integrators are now competing for the same accounts instead of focusing on virgin territory.

Diversification may be easier said than done, but for systems integrators operating in the Middle East, there are logical service expansion opportunities that especially the SMB market is clambering for--and which SIs are naturally best positioned to deliver.

Three key expansion opportunities for SIs that their SMB and enterprise customers are either in the market for currently or will be shortly include backup and disaster recovery (BDR), compliance management and information security.

Collectively, BDR, compliance management and security represent 400% year-over-year growth for the next four years in the Middle East. Today, however, security is the biggest hot-button issue for SMBs, and it’s also the biggest margin offering for SIs. SMBs know security is important, but only a few believe they are adequately protected.

Meanwhile, the BDR market is skyrocketing because businesses value data second only to people. BDR applies to all aspects of IT (asset protection, compliance, business continuity and customer retention) and can easily become the second most profitable offering for SIs.

And as businesses realise compliance is another top priority, they are increasingly turning to IT providers because, at its core, compliance is a data issue. Most organisations in the Middle East haven’t yet adopted adequate solutions for compliance issues, and it will eventually threaten their business and growth--whether it’s GDPR or other global or domestic standards.

SIs that are too intimidated or overwhelmed to expand into these areas and opt instead to stay on the sidelines while their peers or new players use innovative solutions to break into their existing accounts will miss out on this exciting market evolution. Organisations (big or small) want these compelling and critical services, and if your customers aren’t able to buy them from your SI business, they will look elsewhere.

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