UK Managed Service Providers Team with IBM to Meet Growing Small Business Demand for Cloud

Small and Midsize Business See Cloud as a Top Priority, IBM Study Reveals

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LONDON, U.K. - 29 May 2012: The ability to work in a more mobile and flexible way was identified in an IBM study as the number one reason for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to turn to cloud. Evidence from the study shows that SMBs are now looking beyond the cost and resource efficiencies enabled by the cloud, and focusing instead how the cloud can improve business outcomes and bring strategic value.

The study also revealed that the advantages of the cloud are being recognised by the majority of UK SMBs -- two thirds of the senior managers surveyed had either already implemented cloud services or intended to in the future, with 45% of UK businesses looking to do so within the next two years. The increased ability for employees to work with greater mobility and flexibility was identified as the most popular reason to move to cloud services (39% of respondents), with cost efficiencies named as the second most popular reason (33% of respondents).

As cloud continues to be a key priority for SMBs, these businesses are looking to local technology providers, also known as Managed Service Providers (MSPs). The emergence of such MSPs is in response to a significant market shift as SMBs move their business applications to the cloud in order to increase their ability to work in a more mobile and flexible fashion.  With limited IT resources, many are looking to a new kind of partner, to help them do this as they seek to off load the management of their IT infrastructure. The MSPs in turn are increasingly turning to IBM to build secure and reliable cloud-based solutions for SMBs. Hundreds of MSPs globaly have already partnered with IBM to deliver high value SMB solutions, including several in the UK -- Fifosys, Serverstream, Vissensa, Acuutech and Techgate to name a few.

“Midsize firms are under increasing pressure to become more efficient and continue to identify new opportunities to grow their business,” explains Lubomir Cheytanov, director of midmarket sales at IBM in the UK and Ireland. “They are looking to local technology providers or MSPs in collaboration with IBM's deep expertise and innovative cloud portfolio to move their business applications to the cloud.”

IBM offers the systems, software and services to make MSP IT environments secure, reliable and scalable for SMB clients; enhanced ISV applications to help MSPs maximise the productivity and value of their investments; and services and support to deliver cloud-based solutions more effectively for SMB clients and more profitably for the MSP.

One MSP focused on this SMB opportunity is Fifosys that is collaborating with IBM to build its new Fortress Cloud solution. This will be the 3rd generation of its cloud platform and building on 10 years’ experience in the Cloud arena Fifosys continually strives to improve stability and performance without compromising on security. "IBM’s focus on the MSP market and its technology innovations, such as automatic storage tiering, make it an ideal partner for us," added Mitesh Patel, the managing director of Fifosys.

As Cheytanov adds: “For MSPs the challenge is to ensure that they can deliver the same levels of reliability and security that their clients have been receiving ‘on premise’. And an increasing number of them are therefore working with IBM capabilities, such as SmartCloud and PureSystems, to deliver the truly secure and scalable solutions that meet their SMB clients’ needs. In addition, MSPs are looking to partner with vendors that not only have strong ecosystems that can enable them to connect to other ‘value-add’ partners and ISVs, but also have extensive partner programmes that can help them tackle their technical, sales and marketing resource challenges.”

An IBM Cloud Speciality Partner focused on this SMB opportunity is Vissensa which is working with IBM to provide secure, flexible cloud based solutions for midsize businesses that need to provision compute resources which are directly in-line with their business needs at the time and able to grow with their client’s requirements seamlessly and without risk. Vissensa’s deployment of IBM’s V7000, Blade technology combined with a software management stack based on Tivoli affords them this highly scalable and flexible solution.

Small and medium businesses will be the driving factor behind managed services growth in the coming years. As SMBs continue their shift toward cloud applications, the demand for MSP delivery model will continue to accelerate.   .

About the Cloud Research Study:

For the independent study, conducted by YouGov in collaboration with IBM, the opinions of 530 senior managers at small and medium-sized companies in the United Kingdom were surveyed. It was conducted in the second quarter of 2012 to capture current and upcoming business and IT priorities for cloud computing.

About IBM Mid-Market Cloud Computing:

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