When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

U.S. SMBs High on Cloud-Based Business Applications

U.S. SMBs High on Cloud-Based Business Applications

U.S. small and medium businesses (SMBs) are showing keen interest in cloud-based business applications, according to AMI-Partners’ latest U.S. SMB Cloud Services Study.

Currently, the software-as-a-service customer relationship management (or, SaaS CRM) market represents 570,000 U.S. SMB firms.

This market, says AMI is set to undergo double-digit year-over-year growth in the next five years.

AMI-Partners specializes in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital, and actionable market intelligence. Its 2011 Worldwide SMB Cloud Service studies examine the SMB Cloud opportunity in 23 countries, including SMB preference for Cloud-based application bundle, price sensitivity and purchase channel preferences.

The research firm notes that the advent of cloud services in the U.S. SMB market has enabled small and medium-size firms to acquire enterprise-class solutions such as CRM, at a lesser total cost of ownership (TCO).

Acquiring CRM and lesser TCO is of great significance to these firms because customer retention and acquisition has become difficult in a slow economy. SMBs want to invest in this specific area and a large number of such firms are evaluating their options to acquire and retain customers.

Customer engagement on social networking sites,” says Jacqueline Atkinson, research manager at AMI-Partners, “is driving SMBs to pay closer attention to their social communities. But it is the influence of the cloud that affects their decision to adopt more advanced customer solutions. Such market trends are creating the right conditions for the integration of social media with CRM applications for enhanced interactions with customers. In fact, U.S. SMB CRM users are a third more likely to engage in social media activities for business than firms who do not use CRM.”

SaaS CRM vendors offering a social component, such as with its Radian6 platform or Sage’s SalesLogix Cloud CRM application, will be influential in moving SMBs toward leveraging social CRM. These vendors consequently are poised to capture more of this growing SaaS CRM market.”

By Anuradha Shukla

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