The cloud-based data services market (including cloud-based) is on the upswing, according to new data from J.D. Power & Associates, and the SMB sector in particular shows substantial room for growth. Twenty percent of large enterprises currently use a cloud-based services offering, while only 14 percent percent of SMBs and 5 percent of very small businesses do so.

In one good piece of news for MSPs specializing in SMB clientele, 17 percent of SMBs say they choose a cloud-based data services provider based on the quality of customer service, and providers who offer a single point of contact raises customer satisfaction index scores by 68 points (on a 1,000-point scale) among cloud-based data services users of all sizes.

Of course, price is a factor as well, with 38 percent of business customers of all sizes saying lower price was the main factor in selecting a cloud-based data services provider. However, only 20 percent of all business customers not currently using cloud-based data services say lower price is the main factor.

Considering that cloud-based data service usage is lower in the SMB and very small business segments that among larger or overall business segments, this also indicates that providing the type of high-quality, personalized customer service which MSPs are known for can be an important differentiator in this market.

Reaching for the Cloud

The J.D. Power study focuses primarily on the cloud-based data services offerings provided by large cable and telco companies, who have made major inroads even into the smaller customer segments. For example, telco provider Optimum Business and cable company Cox are listed as top performers in the SMB and very small business categories.

However, this presence by the “big boys” in the SMB market is nothing new at this point, and MSPs can effectively compete against large players if they follow the correct strategy. As mentioned above, relatively low penetration rates and a premium on customer service levels among SMB customers work in MSPs’ favor.

While the opportunity to convert existing SMB customers of large telco/cable companies is low, MSPs can stress personalized service, the guarantee of a single point of contact, and existing customer relationships to SMB clients who have not yet made the jump to cloud-based data services. Nobody said reaching for the cloud would be easy, but the sky is open to everyone, not just the “big boys.”