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Marching Orders 2016: Unlock the SMB Opportunity

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, David Smith, vice president of Worldwide SMB at Microsoft, explores the partner opportunities in the SMB market.

With the rapid advancements in new technologies, 2016 will be an exciting year for business of all sizes. Modern technologies that utilize cloud and mobile are becoming increasingly important in helping our small and medium business (SMB) customers compete and be more productive. However, many SMBs struggle with determining what technology is right for their business and how to take the first step.

In 2016, our partners have a huge opportunity to position themselves as trusted advisers that can not only help solve SMBs' business challenges and remain competitive, but also allow them realize the greatest return on their technology investments.

Help Customers Leverage Technology To Stay Competitive
According to recent research from Techaisle, cloud, mobility, collaboration and security emerged as the top trends for SMBs when defining their path to success. With that in mind, it's clear that for SMBs, staying current with modern technology should be a business priority. With productivity tools like Office 365, partners can help SMBs arm their employees with the technology needed for real-time collaboration -- both in the office and away from it. And since Office works across all platforms, together with Windows 10, it has the ability to take productivity to a whole new level for those who use it.

In addition, with the explosion of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), there's huge potential for partners to help SMB customers protect their company data across multiple devices. To help with this, Microsoft has developed the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), a comprehensive solution that helps protect information assets across user identity, content, applications and cloud services, and devices. Combined with Office 365, EMS offers native protection for services SMB customers use daily.

Own the Customer Relationship Lifecycle
Programs like the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program help partners more easily provide these cloud-based solutions to their SMB customers. CSP allows partners to own the entire customer relationship lifecycle, which provides more opportunities to not only realize revenue faster, but also to sell in their own IP to meet customers' unique needs. Not only that, but this model enables partners to further establish themselves as a trusted adviser for their customers by positioning them as the single point of contact.

The SMB market represents a huge opportunity for partners in 2016. Partners that want to capitalize on this opportunity need to make sure they are not only offering the types of solutions SMBs are demanding, but also that their business model supports cloud and mobile solutions in a way that will ultimately lead to maximum profitability for their organizations.

More Marching Orders 2016:

Posted on January 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM