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Thursday, February 07, 2013
SMB tech support market will achieve double-digit growth through 2016
New research shows 14.4% CAGR for SMB tech support 2012-2016
Parks Associates today announced new SMB (small-and-medium-business) technical support research showing network complexity, growth of cloud services, and BYOD (bring-your-own-device) trends will help drive the U.S. market to a 14.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2012 and 2016, reaching nearly $25 billion by 2016.
Small Business Tech Support: Small Target, Big Market, a new report from Parks Associates, reports there are nearly six million U.S. firms with 1-99 employees. Nonprofits and non-employer firms also account for a large part of the market potential; the U.S. non-employer segment will reach nearly 24 million in 2013. The new research shows 45% of U.S. SMBs with 1-20 employees have paid for tech support at least once in the past year, but as the SMB network gets more complicated, many current solutions are inadequate.
"Many tech support providers have offered SMBs a product that was, essentially, a consumer solution on steroids," said Jim O’Neill, research analyst, Parks Associates. "But as SMBs have become more dependent on 24/7 uptime, tech support providers are responding with more robust offerings. Ideally, these new products are delivered by companies that already have relationships with SMBs: service providers like ISPs, cable companies, and telcos. Tech support is a great source of incremental revenue for them and also helps keep their services sticky.”
Increasing network and connectivity complexity and the emergence of cloud storage and application adoption will drive the SMB tech support market to develop more robust solutions. For example, Comcast recently rolled out its tech support product “Signature Support” targeted at small businesses, and IBM expanded its Managed Vendor Support Services (MVSS) to support SMB. Cox Communications plans to deploy an SMB version of its residential product Cox Tech Solutions this year.
Cloud services popular with SMBs include collaboration, data backup, storage, and CRM, according to Parks Associates. SMBs value migration to the cloud as a way to reduce software and hardware spending, but integration can be complex, opening new opportunities for tech support providers that can address these issues.
SMB employees are also increasingly bringing their own devices into the workplace, and the introduction of this technology, particularly Android-based tablets and smartphones running a variety of apps, creates new challenges in network maintenance.
“Education will continue to be a major component in tech support for small businesses, especially for those microSMBs that rely heavily on uninterrupted computer function but encourage BYOD to save costs,” O’Neill said. "Small business owners can spend up to 20 hours a month solving IT issues. Support providers need to develop tools that target those lost hours."
Small Business Tech Support: Small Target, Big Market looks at the opportunities for technical support in businesses ranging in size from SOHO to 99 employees.
About Parks Associates: Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.
The company's expertise includes digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, Internet and television services, digital health, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer apps, advanced advertising, consumer electronics, energy management, and home control systems and security.
Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, and Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer.
Next: U.S. SMBs interested in new support services from broadband service providers, electronic retailers, and CE manufacturers
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