IBM: Security, Cloud and VDI Hot in Midmarket for 2011

Solution
providers looking to grow their business with midmarket customers will have
plenty of opportunity in 2011.

And
VARs that are able to provide customers with virtualization, cloud computing
and security solutions will be able to reap rewards and develop long-term
relationships with midmarket customers, Andrew Monshaw, general manager of IBM’s
global midmarket team, told Channel Insider.

“What
I see is a migration from feeling relegated to very basic things to
understanding that you can model your business capabilities the same as
companies much larger,” Monshaw said. “Small companies can compete with big
companies on a very-very level playing field now.”

Midmarket
companies will have spent about $156 billion on IT in 2010, he said, and the
midmarket segment is growing roughly two times faster than the general IT
market.

“There’s
plenty of business to be had. Who’s winning in this marketplace? The ones who
are emphasized on solutions,” Monshaw said. “In the midmarket, it’s more about
solutions and the applications that matter to that business.”

And
right now, customers are interested in the virtual desktop, cloud computing and
security, he said.

“If
you look at the studies you see virtualization being a hot topic in this space,
and virtual desktop is the offering that is seeing traction fast. Why is it
seeing traction fast? The user experience is there,” Monshaw said. 

Midmarket companies will also be looking to move IT
processes like virus protection and encryption—which cost money but add little
to the business’s bottom line—to the cloud. Cloud-based services allow
midmarket businesses to save money on hardware and software while providing
solution providers with a steady revenue stream.

Security
will also be a growing concern as more workers go mobile and carry sensitive
business data around on portable devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones.
“More and more, this mobility of data inside of a PC is becoming more and more
worrisome if you’re building a business and have business-critical data or
customer data,” he said.

The
key to tapping into the lucrative midmarket, Monshaw said, is nurturing the
trusted adviser relationship with customers.

“This market segment doesn’t necessarily always have IT budgets. A lot of
times, [their IT purchases] are opportunistic buying. They don’t always know
what they want,” he said. “Interestingly their needs and requirements are
exactly the same as large companies, but I’d say that they’re sort of half a
generation behind in realizing that they can leverage it.”

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