By Juan Lobato, CEO, BaseKit
As SMEs become increasingly dependent on telephone, broadband, and web-hosting, many have engaged external multiple suppliers to provide these services. Time saving and cost efficient: SMEs are looking outside their hub to fulfil their needs.
One thing is abundantly clear however; small businesses have far too many suppliers. In a recent study, over half of SMEs with under 25 employees said they felt that their business would perform better with fewer suppliers. In fact, over a third of SMEs have no idea how many external suppliers they use, and of those that did, over 40 per cent use more than three suppliers. Despite the significant trend towards outsourcing in recent years, more is not always better.
According to a recent study, 40 per cent of SMEs have to manage multiple payments each month. One issue with this degree of outsourcing for similar services is wasted time. Between billing accounts and remembering passwords, it can be challenging to keep multiple account details straight, resulting in a huge waste of time for the average small business owner, who is already maxed out between internal operations and managing their own customers.
Savvy small business owners are already looking to bundle all of their services with one supplier to save time and money. In a recent study, almost half of SMEs surveyed revealed they are currently bundling their personal phone, broadband, and TV plans with one supplier, demonstrating an appetite for single sourcing that could be easily adopted by the business world. As smaller, more dynamic companies often lack IT departments to manage their outsourced accounts, this trend could come as a huge relief to SMEs operating in a competitive climate.
Service providers have taken note and are beginning to accommodate SMEs with business bundle packages. Sometimes called multiplay, these packages combine previously disparate services into one (typically discounted) offering. In fact, service providers are already adding new services to traditional offerings, such as security, Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud, web-hosting, and web-design services.
Although multiplay might look like a way for service providers to drive revenue, bundled packages actually encourage stickiness and customer loyalty for all of the reasons listed above: businesses are dissatisfied with their multiple providers, they are looking for ways to save time, and they are already used to bundling their personal accounts.
With the explosion of new devices in the workplace, from smartphones to tablets and smart TVs, multi-play will provide businesses with endless opportunities to consume services across devices. It is only a matter of time before SMEs begin to reap the benefits of these one-stop-shops to grow their businesses from the ground up.