Cloud gives resellers an opportunity to tap the massive SME market.

Enterprise IT resellers that have traditionally focused on the mid to high end of the market are now viewing software-as-a-service (SaaS) and the cloud as an opportunity to target small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

This gives them the opportunity to diversify their business and earn annuity revenue streams from the high-volume market.

That’s the word from Vinay Hiralall, GM: demand generation at Tarsus On Demand, who says that larger resellers are beginning to look beyond the managed mid-range and enterprise accounts for growth. The shift towards the cloud means that it now economically viable for them to serve accounts at the lower end of the market.

“We’re receiving more and more queries from larger companies that want to leverage our experience in the SME space,” says Hiralall. “They have identified an opportunity to work with us and vendors like Microsoft to take SaaS and cloud value propositions to new markets.”

Hiralall says that a cloud enabler plays a similar role for these resellers in the as-a-service world as valued-added distributors do in the world of hardware and packaged software. By providing economies of scale, know-how and technical support, a cloud enablement partner can streamline the transition to the cloud.

“Many resellers realise that they will need help to get their cloud business going – from strategy to architecture to demand generation to technical support,” Hiralall says. “A cloud enablement partner can provide them with the automation, management, provisioning  and billing platform they need to get going.”

A good cloud aggregator today will have made significant investments in tools that enable its reseller partners to give customers easy access to the SaaS products they want to procure. Clients can make purchases and have their products loaded onto their accounts in minutes, enabling resellers to make sales from a website.

These resellers are also looking to tap into the established skills base and direct vendor relationships cloud aggregators and enablement partners can offer. Working with an enablement partner means they don’t need to meet ambitious revenue targets or immediately build out a large team of certified resources to work with a vendor.

“Cloud enablement partnerships give the reseller many of the benefits of a vendor partner programme, but with lower barriers to entry,” says Hiralall. “They can provide their customers with the best possible solution, while curtailing the risks and costs of moving into a new market.”

He adds: “There is strong demand for cloud software among smaller  businesses that are looking to moderrnise their technology environments and who favour the concept of month-to-month billing and pay-for-use licensing. Resellers can capitalise on this demand by working with a partner that can help them address the challenges of strategy, planning, orchestration and service provision.”