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Microsoft Corp. recently released a full study of business challenges and technology priorities that SMBs are facing in this year ahead.

As part of the first “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” , more than 600 SBSCs across 5 countries were surveyed – including the survey you received from us in Canada.

You can read in to the global results of the report, which showed that SMBs are focusing on IT investments that directly benefit their bottom line — either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers.

I wanted to take some time to highlight our local results and insights.

SBSC Media Coverage in Canada

Here is the fantastic Canadian coverage of the value of the SBSC community and their insights.

Highlighted Findings in Canada

These were the top findings coming directly from Canadian SBSCs.

Related to products:

  • Backup (60%), IT consolidation through a SMB server (54%) and virtualization (50%) were the top 3 SMB market opportunities identified by you
  • Virtualization was rated the top cost saving technology (38.9%) and investment for growth for your business (37%)
  • Almost 50% of you said that interest in Business Intelligence was going to increase this year, and only 7% expected otherwise
  • 18% of you expect to see an up to 10% increase in use of software as a service by SMBs this year

Related to your business:

  • Your top priorities for growing your business was generating new marketing material (55%) and establishing new partnerships to expand reach (44%)
  • You said the best ways to describe your changing role to customers was helping with cost reduction (31%) and providing a one stop experience for hardware/software/services (20%)
  • Future challenges outside of the economy for you were a shortage of skilled IT staff (37%) and customer acquisition/retention (33%)
  • You said discounts and incentives (60%) were the most important and helpful resources

We’ve Got Programs to Match

The great thing is that this has helped solidify some of the work we’ve been doing with you, and identify other areas for us to still help.

From discounts and incentives (Microsoft FUEL for VARs and others), to connecting with other partners (WPC 2009), to generating marketing materials (upcoming gamePLAN tool), to training on high priority products (Partner Learning Centre).

If you see other gaps, email me directly and let’s discuss how we can work together to succeed.

In Conclusion

A very central takeaway here is that technology-savvy SMBs – both partners and customers – are key to catalyzing the economic recovery in Canada.

Fast fact: SMBs employ 90% of the world workforce and account for more than 50% of the world GDP.

This year will present unprecedented challenges for many customers, but very few are in a position to simply wait out the storm. History and this survey tell us that smaller businesses will need to adapt and find new ways of gaining competitive advantages to obtain customers. The best part is that smaller businesses are the most capable of doing so.

Fast fact: SMB IT spending increases in the world are expected to be twice that of larger companies.

IT is firmly entrenched as a strategic asset among these SMBs. They NEED YOU and are RELYING ON YOU to help build their business against the grain. If any partner can help them to succeed, it’s a Microsoft Small Business Specialist.

It’s you.

Thanks,

Satish Kanwar
Breadth Channel Development
Microsoft Canada

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