SMB cloud services could be a multibillion-dollar opportunity for telcos, says research firm

Small to medium businesses (SMBs) are becoming the next battleground for service providers in the cloud services race. A new BCSG study of 500 SMBs located in the United States and the UK revealed that service providers have a lot to gain from supplying services to this segment.

There are a few dynamics in play for service providers and SMBs. Service providers are trying to figure out how to retain and grow high APRU users like SMBs, while small businesses are grappling with what cloud services are the best fit for their particular organization.

Regardless of the initial challenges, SMBs are interested in buying cloud services. According to the study, 43 percent of all UK and U.S. SMB respondents said that they would be willing to purchase cloud services from their incumbent service provider, while another 40 percent of UK and US SMBs are openly willing to purchase software and tools from operators to help them grow their business. Since only 31 percent of SMBs currently have a cloud migration strategy in place, the segment remains largely untapped. Citing forecasts from Gartner and Compass Intelligence, BCSG says that the UK and U.S. SMB cloud services market could be worth more than $22 billion to UK and U.S. service providers collectively.

"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," said Tom Platt, commercial director for BCSG. Release

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