SMBs Have Big Business Needs

Opinion: Vendors are tailoring products for small and midsize businesses, but are they really filling their needs?

Most things in life can be represented by the classic bell curve: test scores, voting preferences, economic class, height and weight, for example. Count businesses in that great middle area of the bell curve, too, though you could even skew that curve further toward the smaller end of the scale. The fact is, most companies out there are small or midsize, regardless of how you determine size, such as by revenue or employee head count. The problem is that many "small" businesses have big business needs, and many "large" businesses may not.

As we have reported in our series of articles on the small and midsize business markets, vendors are paying increasing attention to SMBs—tailoring products for SMB needs—but are they the right products that fit specific needs, or are they just "light" versions of large enterprise products?

In our Midmarket Report, we look at two areas from the channel perspective: BC (business continuity) and DR (disaster recovery) services, and SAAS (software as a service) business applications. SMBs may not suffer huge losses compared with a Fortune 500 company that loses a data center in a hurricane, but everything is relative: The SMB suffers just the same for comparatively small financial or data losses.

"Small companies usually dont have a DR or BC plan because they cant afford one or think they cant—not understanding that if a disaster strikes, they may go out of business," Jim Addlesberger, president and CEO of NavigateStorage, in Concord, Mass., told Herman Mehling in an interview with eWEEK.

On the SAAS side, and other SAAS providers have revolutionized the way companies buy software, cutting out the middleman and giving more control to users. However, that doesnt necessarily mean theres no room for VARs or systems integrators, writes Senior Writer John Hazard. SAAS offers savings to companies and a new market for channel providers to help companies engineer processes to make better use of service software. "There is no business value in spending four weeks installing a database," said Bobby Napiltonia, senior vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at San Francisco-based "There is business value in re-engineering your business process, change management [and] training for your sales force."

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at


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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...