Anyone with an understanding of our business or experience of dealing with us, in any capacity, will know how much we value ourpartners. We’ve often talk about them as our extended sales force, and we spend a lot of time with them talking about the market, what customers are saying and how smaller businesses are using technology, specifically virtualization.
Most recently we spoke to some of our channel partners here in EMEA with research experts Canalys to get a better understanding of the trends in virtualization in the SMB sector. It was all part of a piece of research Canalys conducted on our behalf amongst 350 of our channel partners, and the results were good news for anyone involved in virtualizing SMBs.
The key finding for us was that the adoption of virtualization is accelerating – twice as many SMBs will be more than 80 per cent virtualized by 2014. What that means is that at the moment, of SMBs who have adopted virtualization, 48 percent have virtualized the basic IT infrastructure of their businesses. Over the next two years, however, 75 percent of SMBs are expected to expand their virtualization programs to include business-critical applications and more. In fact, channel partners predict that 38 percent of these companies will have more than 80 percent of their businesses virtualized, as they move toward IT as a Service, up from 20 percent of companies today.
The reasons behind this extend beyond pure cost savings: reducing costs is the more immediate driving factor (rated most important and second most important by 71 percent of respondents) to virtualize, but it’s closely followed by the desire to ensure business continuity and improve hardware utilization. In terms of the overarching business priorities for SMBs, beyond technology, cost reductions (rated as highly important or important by 83 percent), business continuity (79 per cent) and business agility (75 per cent) emerge as the top three, showing alignment between immediate virtualization drivers and longer-term objectives. Furthermore, the majority (86 percent) agree that virtualization and cloud computing are connected.
You can read more about the research and what some of our partners thought here. If you work for an SMB or a partner focused on the SMB market, be sure to check back here soon – we’ve got another announcement coming up which is sure to be of interest.