Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SMB is in the air…

I had dinner last night with the CEO of a company I sit in the advisory board for and we were discussing Identity for the SMB space. Then I wake up this morning, and happen upon Nishant’s blog (he’s a smart guy at Oracle) who was blogging about… Identity for the SMB space. Long story short, it is what I have been thinking about the past couple of weeks, and I thought I would share my experience in the SMB space and where I think software vendors could do well…

I view the SMB space as companies with <$1B in revenue, with a few hundred to several thousand employees. These companies want what the Fortune 10 want, without the price tag and without the associated overhead of Day 2 issues – Training, support, and management of infrastructure and applications. They also want most of the configuration and/or customization to be baked into the offering.

Nishant solicited some feedback, so I’ll put it up here and send it to him in an email:

Where I think companies will be successful in rolling out identity management solutions will be related to how many best practices are baked into the offering. I also strongly believe that mid-market companies will want to eat the identity elephant in bites, that is to say to roll things out in phases for a fixed cost. They will also likely want to host some or all of their identity/access management solutions with a hosting company such as NaviSite, who can offer the infrastructure (ping, power, pipe) as well as the expertise to manage a deployment and in many cases provide the implementation services as well. They will also want to outsource the care and feeding (patches, OS, DB, capacity management, backups, etc) of their environment since they want to spend as little time as possible managing infrastructure.

Where I see Oracle, Sun, IBM and others having the best reach in this market are to offer Identity solutions that are useful (processes and configuration thought out and included), managed by others (outsourced), and at a price point that is calculated per user, and spread out monthly so the infrastructure is not an asset to be depreciated, but a service that is an expense. This give the SMB companies solid functionality, intrinsic value beyond the feature set, and a way to enable trust inside and outside their companies.


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