Categories: Strategy and Leadership
Last month I attended the Midsize Enterprise Summit East 2012 event in New Orleans to connect with midmarket executives to understand what's driving their businesses forward, and how they are tapping into trends and technologies. Not only was it an informative event for insight into the issues, concerns and opportunities the midmarket faces, but it was fun too. Ping Identity's Vice President of On-Demand Jonathan Buckley took it to heart, combining informative content on cloud computing for the midmarket with a harmonica-fueled ditty in honor of New Orleans and Jazz Week. For a break from the mundane, take a quick look at this 3-minute infotainment video on YouTube of his session.
Back to business.
Fun aside, conversations throughout the event centered on cloud computing and cloud apps. There's no doubt the midmarket is driving the adoption of cloud computing, more so than their enterprise brethren. This presents a vibrant opportunity for Software as a Service (SaaS) providers. Three common threads kept popping up, whether in formal conversations in the booth, in the hallways between educational sessions or in after-hours festivities. Let's spend some time examining them:
1. Company Growth: Midmarket Full Steam Ahead!
Companies in the midmarket are growing at a much faster rate than enterprises. Executives are positive about the future – short-term and long-term – as they react to increased demands for their products and services. To meet and exceed these demands, the midmarket is tapping into new capabilities enabled by cloud computing, and specifically cloud apps. This positive outlook has been highlighted often in recent months, such as the research by Forbes Insights and BMO Harris Bank that is summarized in the article, "Three Things Mid-Size Companies Do Better." The Cloud is an important lever to scaling quickly while remaining nimble, and the midmarket is embracing it.
2. Mobility and Access
We live in a transformational period, personally and professionally. Cloud computing, mobile and social media are opening doors in an instant that a few years ago would have take months, if not quarters to crack. These trends are also fueling behavioral and work/life transformation. Sales people can hit the road with everything they need in their pocket. Development teams can work from the farthest reaches of the earth or the comfort of a home office. Access to the right talent is less reliant on geographic proximity. The ability to get the right people on the team, regardless of location, means companies can succeed faster and more efficiently. In most sectors, remote workers are commonplace and the tools to collaborate and access the resources necessary to do the job are just a few clicks away. Thanks Cloud, for making that mobility and access possible.
3. Security + User Convenience
In the enterprise, security is a primary concern, and at times trumps user convenience when it comes to tools, technologies and workflow requirements. In the midmarket, user convenience reigns supreme. Nimbleness and responsiveness are core traits of successful midmarket companies, and the Cloud delivers. At the same time, while user convenience is the primary driver, security is still a chief concern – this is why cloud single sign-on (SSO) is so attractive to the midmarket. It provides team members with the access to cloud apps they need to succeed, while ensuring strict adherence to security policies.
For a realworld examplee, let's take a look at the human capital management (HCM) function. At Ping Identity, we partner with an HCM solutions provider (Ultimate Software) to SSO-enable their solution. HCM is a vital aspect of any business, and in the midmarket this comes with some distinct challenges. For instance, many sectors rely on fluctuations of temporary help or seasonal workers, so on-boarding new employees and de-provisioning terminated employees quickly is wildly important for both security and compliance reasons. Add in the convenience mentioned above that midmarket companies demand, and it presents a unique blend of issues midmarket companies must navigate. However, the Cloud allows these companies to balance business growth with their own staffing nuances and with the flexibility to scale up and down as dynamically as they need.
Cloud adoption is thriving in the midmarket, fueled by accelerating growth, mobility needs and user convenience demands. The opportunity is huge for software providers to deliver their solution through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model – responding to the needs of a high-growth sector hungry for cloud apps that also has the budget to fund it. So break out your own harmonica, sing a SaaSy tune and make it rain from the midmarket clouds.
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This blog will share insights, best practices and anecdotes of how secure cloud identities can shorten time to revenue for software companies, speed user adoption and increase application stickiness for increased long-term customer value. This blog will include primers on technology and standards while providing commentary on current events relevant to identity in the software business.