Cloud services: the missing piece of the quad play for SMBs?

Written by John Davis, Managing Director, BCSG

cloud

Technology convergence has created an extraordinary opportunity for telcos to broaden their offer to consumers. The fab four that make up the quad play service set (phone, broadband, TV and wireless) have helped these businesses move beyond their core value proposition and step into the role of content providers.

Now they have many more reasons to be in touch, and many more things to talk about. That’s helping build deeper, more rewarding relationships with customers, generating valuable consumer data and shoring up revenue streams. It’s also setting the stage for these businesses to continue extending their services, moving into areas that would previously have seemed unrelated to their brand activities.

Making a play for the SMB market

But how can quad play work for the small businesses (SMBs) that are an important subset of telco customers? While they’re in the market for mobiles, WiFi and other communication solutions, TV doesn’t rank high on SMBs’ list of must-haves. Given the pressure telcos are experiencing on revenues and margins in core income streams, finding a replacement fourth service for SMBs is something of an imperative.

Not only could it help protect their ARPU, it could even lead to growth. Up until now, however, that missing piece of the jigsaw has proved elusive. Just what is it that could legitimately build engagement and offer real value to SMBs?

Step forward cloud services. More and more SMBs are wising up to the range of help and advice available through cloud-based apps. In our recent survey, 70% said they’re considering accessing this support in the next 2-3 years. Given this explosion in interest, cloud solutions should really be a default part of the SMB quad play.

Don’t lose out to your competitors

And quite naturally, telcos are rapidly moving into this space: to make the most of its huge growth opportunity and to benefit from the boom in SaaS apps being designed to meet small business needs. For those Tier 1 and Tier 2 telcos without cloud service propositions, there’s no time to waste. Competitors are busy, working to establish a presence in this market before it tips over into mass adoption by SMBs.

But filling that gap and making cloud services the fourth piece in the quad play won’t be enough. As we’ve discussed elsewhere on this blog, if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. As much as you need to invest in the technology behind an app marketplace, you’ll also need to develop a powerful Go To Market strategy and invest in an effective digital engagement platform. Only then will telcos realise the potential that cloud services promise as part of the quad play for SMBs.

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