12.02.2016Enterprise Tech

What do small businesses want? Technology and security made easy.

By: Catherine Sugarbroad

It's a great time to be running a small business. Innovations like the Cloud and IoT are making technology that was once available only to deep-pocketed large enterprise organizations accessible to small businesses.

What we've learned from talking to small business owners is that they're looking for a partner that can provide a portfolio of solutions that will help them compete with larger companies, They want to be spoken to in language they understand. And they want services delivered that are easy to manage so they can focus on their core business and customers. My job is to look across Verizon's assets and ask: if we were to design the optimal portfolio of products and services for the small business, what would it look like? What do they need, and what problems can we solve for them?

Small businesses want mobility

We know that 88 percent of small businesses have employees who work away from their primary location, so we focus on making our small business products mobile-friendly. In August, we launched One Talk, a new generation of product that was literally designed with the small business in mind. One Talk, simply put, allows business owners and employees to be reachable wherever they are—at the office, on the go, or in their home office—with one number, so they never miss a call or the business that comes with it. Like all the products we're developing for small business, we made One Talk affordable and easy to set up.

Small businesses want a single, trusted vendor

When it comes to IT, enterprise companies have the luxury of a dedicated department that can cobble together a group of best-of-breed solutions. But small business owners end up running their business during the day, and then they’re up late on the couch at home researching solutions to meet their IT needs, and they don't have time for that. They want straightforward solutions that are easy to set up, manage and use. That's where we come in—we want to provide everything they need to get their IT up and running in one place. So we offer a portfolio of technology solutions that don’t require deep technical skills to use, like premium tech support—not just for the services and devices that we offer them, but for non-Verizon devices as well—and access to a 24/7 help desk for install, setup and configuration support, and basic security assistance.

Small businesses want inexpensive, easy solutions

We also recently launched Expressfleet, which allows small businesses to manage their fleet of vehicles from a mobile app. Enterprise companies have had technology like this for years, but the hardware and installation was expensive and out of reach for your average small business. Expressfleet offers an affordable module that plugs into a port in each vehicle, works with an app and is easy to implement. Solutions like these come from listening to our customers, who want to level the playing field with enterprise and be mighty even though they're small.

Small businesses want IoT

Small businesses also need advanced productivity and vertical applications, particularly in the IOT space. If you're a business today of any size and you're not thinking about how you're going to connect your infrastructure or your product with sensors that allow you to extract information and pivot quickly—whether it's information about how your physical operations are working, or about how your customer is using a product—then you're going to be left behind. So we're expanding our portfolio and partnerships to offer IoT solutions that are accessible to small business.

Large enterprise companies were the frontrunners in these kinds of innovations, and now we're packaging what we've learned from doing business with those big organizations, and offering  solutions tailored for small to medium businesses. These SMBs are trying to navigate the digital world and compete with large enterprises, and need a partner who can deliver on technology solutions that are simple, reliable and specifically for them.

Learn more about One Talk, a reachability solution designed for small business.

About the author(s): 

Catherine Sugarbroad is the Executive Director, Portfolio Management, directing governance, strategy and operations for the Business Products organization at Verizon.

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