Looking at SMB OS (and What SMBs Really Want)

We probably started talking about The Local Operating System a few years ago. Groupon had started painting a fresh vision of “closing the loop” for SMBs, combining its promotions, transactions, point of sales info and location info.

Since then, the quest for a Local Operating System has intensified for SMBs. In particular, cloud services have blurred the lines between functions. Operation/administration apps for accounting and other services have also started being integrated.

Zoho, an India-based software giant, has recently launched the industry’s most comprehensive effort. “ZohoOne” combines 35 Web + mobile apps so that an SMB can “run its entire business on the cloud.” The apps include customer acquisition and support apps; operation apps (finance, recruiting and HR); and various mail, collaboration and productivity apps.

Time will tell whether SMBs really want these applications on an integrated basis. This is a key question for technology vendors that have all moved towards providing platforms that combine their own services and integrate with partners.

At The B2SMB Summit taking place Oct. 3-4 in Chicago, we’ll conduct essential conversations with leaders from such platform companies as Microsoft, GoDaddy, Web.com, DocuSign, DexYP, 1&1, LinkedIn, Cisco and others.

1&1 Internet gives us a global view. The company is one of the world’s leading web hosting providers and part of United Internet’s Business Applications segment, which serves more than 6 Million customer contracts.

1&1 currently provides a wide range of services to its customers, who are mostly VSBs – very small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. These services include websites, local listing, web hosting, email/o365, ecommerce, SEO/SEM, email and security. It recently started offering invoicing and accounting capabilities.

Strategy Business Development lead Martin Schmidt told us that SMBs “accept” all the new technologies — but they don’t do it without reservation, and the level of acceptance varies in different countries. In an era of WikiLeaks, he warns that there are signs that SMBs outside of North America may resist solutions that compromise their data integrity – especially if it means storing data with foreign-based tech giants.

1&1’s Schmidt will share in-depth results from the research at The B2SMB Summit. You can register at special summer rates.

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