Verio Targets the Midmarket

The company's new on-demand software suite is available online on a monthly basis.

With the introduction of a new suite of products aimed at the midmarket, Verio is continuing its transformation from a generalized Web and application hosting provider to one focusing squarely on companies with fewer than 1,000 users.

The Centennial, Colo.-based company has introduced Verio Business Solutions, a suite of eight stand-alone products companies can buy on a monthly basis, without long-term agreements, licensing fees or upfront investments in infrastructure. Users access these applications, which are hosted by Verio off-site, via the Web.

Applications run the gamut, from SugarCRM Professional for customer relationship management to Accrisoft Business Management and Productivity for customer billing, invoicing, e-mail marketing and membership management. Other applications include Microsoft Exchange 2007, McAfee Total Protection for Small Business and PC Data Backup.

These products are part of Verio's plan, long in the making, to shift the company to one focused on small businesses and the midmarket. The shift started about two years ago, when Verio split off its enterprise hosting division to parent NTT America, leaving it with a focus on the midmarket and below, said Dennis Boyle, Verio's chief operating officer.

It's a solid move for Verio because few service providers in the midmarket offer a complete suite of hosted services, said Philbert Shih, an analyst at Tier1 Research.

"Verio's play here is a credible attempt to fill that gap in the marketplace. This is definitely a midmarket play for Verio," he said.

It's also a good move for the company in general, Shih said.

"Competition in the Web services space is intense, and with the likes of Microsoft, Google and Amazon looming, it's critical that hosters make the transformation to become more of a one-stop business solutions provider," he said. "Verio is jump-starting this transformation process in a very meaningful way, and it will only benefit them against their rivals."

Verio has no plans to stop there. By the end of the year, the company plans to launch Microsoft SharePoint as an add-on to Microsoft Exchange. Early next year, plans include launching an accounting application with pricing aimed at the midmarket, Boyle said. In addition, "we'll look to create greater integration between the products, which are now stand-alone," he said.

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