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Boom predicted in SME managed services

Broadband providers must ramp up their managed services portfolios if they are to keep hold of small firms, analysts warn
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Small business customers are likely to be offered a wide range of managed services in the future as broadband providers struggle to hang on to their SME base, analysts have claimed.

A new report from Analysys, entitled Strategies for Selling More to SMEs, suggests that a competitive broadband market will see the Western European SME spend on broadband access peak in 2009, forcing providers to seek further sources of revenue by offering extra services.

According to the report's authors: "Broadband managed services will represent a strong growth market between now and 2010 [so] incumbents and the largest, best-resourced alternative operators could consider providing selected broadband managed services as a defensive strategy".

This could mean SMEs are offered an increasing number of IT and software services, the authors note. While large ISPs could offer a range of web-based services on their own, smaller providers could also get in on the game by acting as sales channels for third parties and carefully tailoring their packages to suit the needs of various types of small business.

The trend already appears to be catching on. It recently emerged that BT — an Analysys client currently pursuing the IT market — is planning a major tie-in with Microsoft to launch an SME-oriented marketplace for broadband managed applications.

Analysys' report is based on a survey of 184 SMEs (of between 10 and 500 employees), undertaken in December 2006. Only businesses that currently buy broadband services were surveyed.

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