Channel markets, Channel technologies, Content, Small business

SMBs Turning to Channel Partners, Consultants for SaaS Help

Almost half of SMBs are getting their business software via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, according to a new study from AppDirect. And 48% of SMBs are getting help with cloud-based software from consultants, channel partners and service providers, the survey found.

The survey, commissioned by AppDirect and conducted by Wakefield Research, surveyed 2,000 SMB IT decision makers from companies that employed up to 250 employees. The survey polled 500 businesses each in four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany online in June and July 2021.

SMBs Turning to Channel Partners, Consultants for SaaS Help

The AppDirect Small Business Software Trends Report 2021 found that 45% of SMBs have most or all of their business software based in the cloud, compared to just 24% in 2017. To overcome migration and maintenance issues, almost 48% of SMBs are turning to outside professionals for help, such as technology advisors—consultants, channel partners and telecom agents—and ISP/telecom services providers, according to the report.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 77% of SMBs say they have increased their reliance on technology. At the same time, more than half (52%) said that they ended up making a poor SaaS investment in response to the pandemic. These findings indicate the ongoing need for expert help when evaluating SaaS business technology. Technology bundles are the most popular buying choice, with 36% of SMBs saying they purchased a technology bundle—such as hardware bundled with software or software bundled with connectivity—from their provider.

Technology Advisors Deliver Greater ROI

While vendors remain the main source of solutions for 51% of SMBs, technology advisors' services have increased from 21% in 2017 to 28% today, while 20% of SMBs turn to telecom providers/ISPs to get their technology solutions. SMBs choose to work with advisors mainly because of their knowledge about technology (51%), as well as because of their customer service and support (49%) and a fast and easy buying process (46%).

SMBs who used technology advisors are more likely to agree that they achieve good ROI from their business technology investments compared to those that don’t, according to the survey. Using outside professional assistance for adoption and migration also greatly increases the likelihood of achieving good ROI, with 96% of SMBs agreeing or strongly agreeing that they see good ROI from their business technology.