Small businesses have spoken, a message from Terry O’Brien

As the UK lockdown gradually eases and the weather gets brighter, things are definitely looking up. This positivity is reflected in our recent survey of more than 200 small business leaders, which shows nearly 70% are feeling overwhelmingly positive about the prospects for their businesses moving forwards.

Small businesses are telling us that they are now set to invest in technology like never before, wanting to power their businesses for the future and looking for Channel partners like you to help them lead the way.

During the first lockdown, businesses rushed to put temporary fixes in place, to get everyone working from home. Now, awake to the fact that this change in the way everyone works is here to stay, they need to invest in fixing remote working for the long term.

In our research, they told us four clear and immediate priorities to fix remote working:

  1. Making collaboration work for the long term – most small businesses have now deployed either Zoom or Teams. They need help to understand what will work for the long term, which is brilliant to use AND secure, while creating a platform to do more.
  2. Fixing home broadband – more than 40% of businesses are reporting problems with staff working at home, caused by poor networks. Over 60% say they are ready to invest to give their teams business-grade, secure connectivity at home.
  3. Putting in place a cloud or hosted telephone system – many small businesses have run their businesses in lockdown by diverting their landline to their mobile. Fixing this for the long term couldn’t be more straightforward, affordable and beneficial.
  4. Joining together collaboration and communications – they want to connect their systems so as not to silo customers and staff.

Once they have fixed these pressing priorities, they want to figure out how to drive digital technology across their whole business, to improve the way they do everything for the long term. The Channel has an incredible opportunity to help small businesses with:

  1. Getting everything else into the cloud – businesses now realise the liberation and flexibility you get when everything lives in the cloud and everything is connected to everything else.
  2. Fibre and 5G – businesses need a super-fast network to make this work at home, on the move and in hubs, and with 5G and Fibre to the Premise rolling out fast, they will invest to get the best.
  3. Security – built into everything they use so they don’t need to worry about it.
  4. Mobile and Microsoft – putting all those amazing apps into the palm of everyone’s hand.
  5. Automation – going systematically through the business and automating workflow – from filling in forms, to ordering and ecommerce, to HR processes – but DIY, simple and low cost, reducing the need for development resource.

Your business can be the business that makes this a reality for your customer. Working together as a Channel community, we have the resources, the reach, the know-how and the trust to help our customers make this change.

We are seeing it in the market forecasts. An already huge £10bn market, small business investment in cloud and comms is set to grow at 9% every year for the next five years*. And with imminent market moments like a more permanent move to home/hybrid working, the PSTN switch-off, FTTP and 5G compelling businesses to make buying decisions, no one is better positioned to help than the Channel.

During lockdown, DWS, Giacom and Union Street became part of the same group of companies, bringing together three Channel-leading solutions – telecoms, Microsoft cloud and telecoms billing. The aim is to make it really simple for the Channel to train, enable, sell, deliver and support your small business customers to seize the incredible opportunity in cloud and comms. Don’t do it alone. Come and talk to us – let’s combine our resources and do it together.