Just returned from the Midsize Enterprise Summit West event in sunny Los Angeles where I was presenting on my webinar Key Consideration for Assessing Office 365 in the Midmarket. Gartner is committed to providing deeper more contextualized content for the midmarket and I am one of the analysts taking up the torch. Coming to Gartner from a very large and global pharmaceutical company my experience with the midmarket up until this point had been working in my father’s lamp shop where the most technical advance tool was a basic Texas Instrument calculator so I was very excited.
So there I was out in the wilds of L.A. hob knobbing with Tim Tebow and Kate Winslet (by hob knobbing I mean I saw them from across a room) and finding out a lot more of what makes the midmarket tick, here are my three big takeaways:
- The midmarket deals with all the problems of the large enterprise with a fraction of the resources and many get it done well and to succeed require be creative: Many of the businesses I talked to had on average 8 IT resources to manage anywhere from 25 to 50 applications, while it was sometimes on a shoe string many handled it well due to having experience staff which grew from within and covered multiple applications. The big issues that comes up is in regards to backfilling these positions; as one would image it may be difficult to find a single individual with SAP, Lotus Notes, SQL and Salesforce experience. Those who do are at a premium and go to larger enterprises in many cases or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing that many apps.
- The midmarket is not afraid to try new things, be innovative and get the end users involved: As a Gartner analyst covering Cloud Office solution such as Office 365 and Google Apps for Work the number one question I answer is which product should we go with. Lo and behold to find a midmarket company telling me they have implemented BOTH solutions and letting the user decided in the end which will be the standard: talk about end user empowerment! I had similar conversations with many midmarket CIOs utilizing the end user base to get in the trenches with IT and help with testing, business cases and process management. What this leads to is stronger more meaningful interactions between IT and the business, solving problems together and creating new business process and reducing or embracing shadow IT.
- The midmarket sees cloud solutions and SaaS as a game changer: Resource allocation was the continuing theme throughout the event; many enterprises that had moved to tools such as Office 365 or an EFSS like Box had found an ROI from a resources perspective due to no longer having to manage the day-to-day upkeep for the application or corresponding hardware. This does not mean they are cutting head count, far from it. Instead they are able to relocate resources to other application or new projects and are able to focus on more business oriented project then IT oriented projects. Moving to the cloud is helping them meet growing demand of the business without adding additional human resources.
All around a great event with great attendees. Hope to see you at one of the next events in 2016!