SMBs do not always follow the wider trends in business process outsourcing (BPO), but some of the general trends services advisory firm Tholons predicts for the BPO market in 2012 should be of particular interest to MSPs serving an SMB client base. Forecasted developments in the areas of vertical BPO, risk management, and social applications offer potential opportunity for MSPs serving SMB clients. Interested in learning more? Read on.

Tholons predicts 2012 will see a focus on outsourcing providing benefit beyond lowered cost. Seeking a transformative impact from their outsourcing activities, companies of all sizes will have interest in vertical-specific services. Small companies struggling to stay competitive with larger rivals can receive particular benefit from managed services that provide deeper ROI through vertically specific targeting and tailoring. MSPs should investigate the specific vertical needs of their SMB clients, especially those in sectors with complex and changing regulations like healthcare and finance.

Take Risk Out of the Equation

Frequently, companies only interested in reducing cost through outsourcing have turned to offshore MSPs who provide lower labor costs. However, global volatility during the past year, as demonstrated by the “Arab Spring” uprisings, widespread narcotics-fueled violence in Mexico and continued US-China tensions, has caused many companies to more carefully consider risk when selecting a location to outsource IT and business processes.

Domestic MSPs can offer small companies, who are even more prone to suffer as a result of interruptions to their managed services, a virtually risk-free delivery environment, which can go a long way to counter lower labor costs offered by providers in less stable parts of the world.

Social Media Comes of Age

Increasingly, social media is becoming a business tool as well as a means of interpersonal communication. Companies of all sizes are not only launching Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, but delving into information such as what kinds of comments customers are making about them on social media sites and creating social media-based focus groups. In addition, MSPs can use social media as a way to interact with clients.

Social media tools can greatly assist SMBs with limited marketing and R&D budgets in activities like reaching a large number of potential customers across a potentially global geographic area, and in determining consumer opinions about their products and services. Few SMBs know how to implement or use these tools, but that’s why their friendly neighborhood MSP is there (or should be there) to deliver them in a targeted, scaled manner.