Business Owners: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Server
MAY 24, 2016 • Blog Post • BY QUARTZ CREATIVE
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Despite challenges in converting to a modernized IT infrastructure, SMBs have become the second largest IT market for HPE’s server business
- As SMBs continue to automate business processes for increased cost savings, security remains critical
The unique needs of SMBs demand custom infrastructure solutions
The wake-up call for small business in 2016 is “know your customer like never before.” Big Data services now allow almost anyone to better understand customer patterns, identify online visitors and connect them to brick-and-mortar stores. No matter where you shop, entrepreneurs today have tools to know more than ever about who you are and what you buy. For many SMBs, behind all this potential looms disappointment and worry. Many of these businesses are taken in by the cloud’s halo effect, only to find a painful gap between their IT skills and the innumerable choices that come with configuring the cloud. The transition is difficult; even the most competent small business IT practitioners are left to wonder if they missed a security hole along the way. Addressing SMB dissatisfaction Some entrepreneurs can become disenchanted and return to more traditional systems. According to AMI-Partners (PDF), 18 percent of SMBs reported cancelling one or more of their cloud contracts in the last 12 months in order to revert to an on-premise solution instead. “What we find is when you get roughly above 300 employees, businesses function more like a typical enterprise in the way they consume and buy their IT,” says McLeod Glass, vice president and general manager Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s SMB server business. “Below that, it really requires a different approach and a different way to go to market.” But the cost savings of the cloud—and the powerful services that it can deliver remotely—make off-premise solutions inevitable, even for the holdouts. Still, many small businesses may never convert completely, says Glass. “SMBs have a lot of legacy applications that run on site, and they want to complement them with new cloud services—whether that’s backup, collaboration or other line-of-business applications,” says Glass. “A lot of customers are struggling with how to bridge that gap.” Despite the growing pains, SMBs have become the second-largest IT market for HPE’s server business, comprising an $11 billion market with almost a 4 percent combined aggregate growth rate projected over the next three years.
Configurable cloud servers made just for SMBs are one approach to a “hybrid” cloud. By bundling on-premise server towers with all of the IT components needed to run cloud services, vendors can offer enterprise solutions to a whole new market of small teams simply by making those preconfigured servers easier to research and buy. Off the shelf server products aren’t always a good fit for the kind of hybrid cloud system that fits the highly specific needs of SMBs. They can vary by market, even by state. The education market in the U.K., for example, is very dispersed, causing customers there to behave more like SMBs, says Glass. “In the U.S., the guidelines around the education segment create a more centralized approach across big geographic areas that leads to more of an enterprise type of buying motion,” he says. His team works with each of the regional category teams to tailor the product portfolio for each market. The server checklist
The checklist for most first-time server customers amounts to two big priorities: increasing productivity and growing the business. Automating business processes is usually the biggest factor in increasing overall productivity, and with automation comes simplified management and greater focus across the organization. Of course, cost matters. By packaging server offerings through a dedicated marketplace, vendors like HPE, along with its partners, can help customers make technology decisions with limited budgets and IT resources—without jeopardizing the security of their business.
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