A new survey commissioned by Amdocs has thrown some interesting light on the subject of cloud services. As previously mentioned here, the vast majority of the 1,300 decision makers at small and medium businesses surveyed (74 percent) would prefer to get their cloud services from their primary communications service provider.
So why aren’t they?
According to the survey, these SMBs are working with an average of three different vendors for their cloud-based services, with only 45 percent receiving cloud services from their primary service provider. So it’s a missed opportunity for those CSPs that cater to this market to not offer cloud services and transform into a one-stop shop for their SMB customers.
We know that SMBs have been the early adopters of cloud services. They are less likely to have a full-blown IT department, or even enough expertise in-house to know if there’s a problem. A lot of these firms also have no legacy IT investment, making it easier for them to move to the cloud and take advantage of the latest software and other services.
These companies are clearly sticking with the cloud for the long haul, but they want more, and unfortunately they don’t seem to be getting it. SMBs tend to be a loyal lot; if you provide them what they want at a good price, they’ll stick with you. So it makes perfect sense for CSPs to add cloud services to their portfolio. If they can’t or are unable to develop these services in-house, in true cloud fashion they can always outsource it.
More precisely, CSPs should consider teaming up with cloud services providers to offer bundled services to customers. CSPs themselves are switching to cloud billing as a way to lower costs, decrease time-to-market and increase their revenues, so moving further into the cloud makes perfect sense.
CSPs could also partner with providers offering business software as a service, backup and storage and other services to become the true one-stop shop that SMBs are looking for. Another option is for the cloud providers to form partnerships to deliver a single cloud offering that would encompass everything a business needs.
This makes a lot of sense for cloud billing vendors to get into as they have the “in” with CSPs and as they make a sale they can also offer additional services that the CSP can pass along to their customers. A challenge that comes along with all of this bundling is of course on the billing side.
The cloud billing vendors, which include a lot of the traditional big names in the billing space, will probably say they are up to the task of rating and charging for a slew of cloud services alongside traditional communications services such as voice and Internet services.
If that’s the case, they and the CSPs can significantly boost their revenues by offering cloud bundles. The cloud is becoming a critical part of the portfolio of any CSP. As seen in the survey results, 68 percent of respondents said they’d be more likely to choose a CSP that also offers cloud services over one that doesn’t.
And 80 percent would like one bill for all of it. Maybe that’s easier said than done, but unless the cloud providers and CSPs get together and start to make something happen, the SMBs will keep switching services until they find someone who gets it right.