Service providers spend a lot of money creating and marketing extra telecom services beyond voice and data access. But according to a recent study, small and medium-sized organizations are yawning at them.

Forrester Research questioned about 1,000 North American and European SMB executives on their network and telcom spending for this year and found 82 per cent of respondents either don’t want to buy or had no opinion on whether they wanted to buy extra services such as security, e-mail and Web hosting from their providers.
The response shows providers aren’t getting their message out, said report co-author Michele Pelino.

“Bundled services continue to be a key component of serving the SMB market,” she said in an interview.

“However, [service providers] need to understand the needs of small business because many SMBs aren’t aware of what these services can do for them. So you need to do some educating.”

Only seven per cent of respondents who already buy telecommunications bundles said their company would be willing to buy security services. Six per cent said they might buy e-mail service and five per cent said they’d be willing to buy Web site hosting.

Thirty-four per cent of the group surveyed buy local, long-distance and broadband access, while another 21 per cent buy those three services and wireless voice services. However, Pelino noted that a sizable 20 per cent don’t purchase bundled services at all. That suggests providers must remember a good number of companies have unique needs that could be handled by an a là carte approach.

Pelino was also struck by the emphasis SMBs are placing on wireless. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said setting mobile and wireless strategies and policies will be either a priority or critical priority this year, followed by 28 per cent who said centralizing management of mobile devices and services will be their critical or main goals.
It would be expected that enterprises would have a high interest in mobility, Pelino said, but she was surprised so many SMBs listed it as important.


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