Small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers and suppliers are increasingly savvy, with high expectations for immediate and personalized service and support. Expectations are rising and yet SMBs are also under pressure to do more with the same or fewer resources.
"The pace of competition is accelerating and SMBs must compete with larger, better-funded businesses while keeping ahead of smaller, leaner competitors," says Ray Boggs, vice president of SMB research for IDC.
The solution: find new ways to optimize operational efficiency in order to improve productivity and reduce costs. "The network can play a significant role in improving business efficiency by ensuring that customers, employees, and suppliers get secure access to real-time data to improve business decisionmaking and, ultimately, customer service," says Lauren Ventura, senior director of commercial market management at Cisco Systems.