Channel Manager’s Playbook Volume 16: SaaS Management Nov 14-16th 2023 SAVE THE DATE! Scan to View Website

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CONTENTS Volume 16: SaaS Management 6 Managing SaaS Sprawl The emerging need for centralized SaaS By Martin Vilaboy 14 SaaS Under Attack The sneaky underworld of SaaS penetration By Brady Hicks 18 Controlling SaaS Overspend By Martin Vilaboy 20 The SaaS Sales Journey How SMBs are buying and benefitting from cloud business apps By Martin Vilaboy Martin Vilaboy Editor-in-Chief Bruce Christian Senior Editor / Event Coordinator Brady Hicks Contributing Editor Percy Zamora Art Director Rob Schubel Digital Manager Jen Vilaboy Ad Production Director Berge Kaprelian Group Publisher (480) 503-0770 Anthony Graffeo Publisher (203) 304-8547 Beka Business Media Berge Kaprelian President and CEO Corporate Headquarters 10115 E Bell Road, Suite 107 - #517 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 Voice: 480.503.0770 Email: © 2023 Beka Business Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in any form or medium without express written permission of Beka Business Media is prohibited. ChannelVision and the ChannelVision logo are trademarks of Beka Business Media ADVERTISER INDEX AireSpring ( 9 C3 Complete ( 23 Clear.Live ( 3 Console Connect by PCCW Global ( 2 CVx ( 12-13 FaxSIPIT ( 8 NHC ( Back cover Profitec ( 17 Snom ( 7 Sophos ( 15 Telesystem ( 5 Disclaimer: This index is provided as a free service to our advertisers. Every effort is made for accuracy, but we cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK 4

The emerging need for centralized SaaS By Martin Vilaboy One of the benefits behind the strong uptake in SaaS-delivered business solutions is the ease at which they are procured. In many cases, all that is needed is a credit card number to obtain a free trial. And according to data from SaaS management company Zylo, whose AI-powered engine has processed SaaS spend, license and usage data equating to more than $21 billion in SaaS spend under management, there’s been a “big shift in how these applications are purchased and managed,” with more organizations enabling employees to research and procure their own software tools. While not an entirely new trend, it’s a shift that’s been compounded by the realities of the work-from-anywhere revolution. And while the speed and agility of self-procurement are distinct advantages, and sometimes necessities, allowing employees the freedom over their application decisions also is creating a new set of challenges. Enterprise SaaS customers, Zylo data analysis shows, are experiencing a type of sprawl of SaaS applications across their organizations, and it could be choking off the value of their SaaS investments. Make no mistake, employees aren’t just occasionally buying a rogue solution on their own. Rather, the majority of SaaS procurement is being executed by employees and departments outside of the bounds of IT. “Today, IT controls just over a quarter (27 percent) of SaaS spend — and directly manages just 23 percent of the average organization’s SaaS applications,” said Zylo’s data analysts. “That’s a 35 percent decrease in control of spend and a 9 percent decrease in control of quantity, year over year.” THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK 6

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Business units, meanwhile, managed up to two two-thirds of SaaS spend, a 22 percent increase. “Recent SaaS growth is driven primarily by business units and individuals, rather than the IT department,” said Zylo analysts. Al l the whi le, SaaS-friendly enterprises are supporting portfol ios of more than 320 SaaS appl ications on average, with the largest enterprises analyzed by the AI engine supporting more than 600 on average. Enterprise organizations spend nearly $65 mi l l ion a year on average on SaaS each year. And SaaS solutions are entering enterprise tech environments at robust rates. The average organization sees eight apps entering its environment every 30 days. “SaaS is easy to acquire, creating a highly dynamic environment,” said Zylo analysts. With the sprawl of SaaS also comes the sprawl of SaaS renewals throughout an organization. The average organization experiences 234 SaaS renewals a year, which equates to nearly 20 each month or nearly one renewal every business day. “Because organizations have so many SaaS applications – and they’repurchased and managed throughout the organization — it’s easy to lose track of when each application is set to renew,” said Zylo researchers. “When organizations are AT YOUR SERVICE: XaaS Most Redundant SaaS Functions within Organizations Online training classes Digital assets Team collaboration Project management Recruiting Web conferencing File storage & sharing Governance, risk & compliance Digital analytics Domain registration Source: Zylo SaaS Categories Experiencing the Greatest Growth Business process management Digital content VPN client Screen and video capture Email marketing Data warehouse Authoring and publishing Survey and forms Predictive analytics and forecasting Design Source: Zylo PLATINUM SPONSORS THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK 8

caught off guard by a SaaS renewal, hasty renewal decisions are made — without data to back them up. That means applications are being renewed that shouldn’t be, and teams aren’t negotiating price or terms as much as they could be.” Another upshot of SaaS sprawl is a majority of organizations having multiple applications that compete to serve the same or largely similar functions. A common example is when a company might have one project management tool used by the engineering team, one preferred by the marketing team, and a third widely adopted by the product team. “When business units have SaaS decision-making power, they tend to seek out best in breed solutions for their functional area,” explained the Zylo data report. “For example, the best project management tool for marketing might not be the same as the best tool for product teams. But more tools don’t necessari ly mean more output and greater productivity.” A lack of centralization of and visibility into SaaS applications also could be negatively impacting how they are used. According to Zylo’s data analysis, the average organization is only utilizing 60 percent of their provisioned licenses, leaving 40 percent wasted, unused and ripe for optimization. “In general, we advise aiming for a target utilization rate of 90 percent or higher. This ensures wide adoption and use, with a small buffer built in for reassigning and provisioning licenses,” said Zylo executives. Expense Counts At the average organization monitored by Zylo, about one in five employees expenses SaaS when procuring a solution, and interestingly enough, Zylo data suggests a connection between companies that give employees greater flexibility to expense SaaS and higher utilization rates within a company. Large enterprises (organizations with 5,000+ employees) have a far fewer percentage of employees expensing SaaS applications, between 8 percent and 10 percent, while at smaller enterprises (1 to 500 employees) more than a quarter of employees expense SaaS. All the while, these larger organizations experience much lower utilization rates of 45 percent to 49 percent compared to the smaller companies that see utilizations rate well above the 60 percent average. “Our interpretation of this data is that the more choice employees have in the SaaS tools they use, the more likely they are to use them,” said Zylo. That’s not to suggest organizations allow their employees to expense software at whim. “Rather, we’re seeing the most progressive organizations strike the right balance by instituting freedom within a framework,” the report continued. Whi le there are upsides to empowering employees to obtain their own solution, and a decentral ized approach to SaaS procurement can increase organizational agi l ity and introduce new opportunities for innovation, an unfortunate side effect is a lack of central visibi l ity into al l SaaS in use across the organization. “This is a big problem, as you can’t optimize what you don’t know exists,” warned Zylo researchers. And a lack of proper SaaS management often leads to inefficient spend, unnecessary costs and steep security and compliance risks. In turn, several SaaS management providers offer channel programs whereby their partners can help their customers strike the right balance between control and innovation. In general, SaaS management platforms proactively identify and manage all of the SaaS applications used in the business, while ogy usiasts ies tists atives s PER YEAR PER MONTH Average Renewals SaaS Renewals Happen Frequently Source: Zylo Source: Per Geoffrey A. Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” 36.3 77 153.5 204.4 134.8 341.3 234 3 6.4 12.8 17 11.2 28.4 19.5 Balancing Employ e Choice and Compliance As the percentage of employees expensing SaaS grows, so does the average utilization rate. 26.2 31.3 20 16.4 9.4 7.4 18.5 66.5 68.3 66.2 63.5 49.4 44.9 59.8 Percentage of Employee Expensing SaaS Average Utilization Rate Company Size 0-100 501-2,500 5,001-10,000 Total Average 101-500 2,501-5,000 10,000+ 0-100 101-500 5,001-10,000 10,000+ Total Average 501-2,500 2,501-5,000 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK 10

providing a centralized pane of glass for managing and reporting on SaaS sprawl, explain executives at TrustRadius, a review site for business technology. The platforms primarily serve as a singular system of record for what SaaS applications are used across an organization, with mechanisms for proactively or automatically identifying which applications are in play. Beyond this ability, SaaS management platforms often focus on managing either the spend (usually entailing elements of license management, contract renewal management and SaaS budget visibility and reporting) or operations of SaaS applications (user access controls for SaaS apps, monitoring SaaS onboarding, adoption and offboarding), with many products expanding to cover both areas. There are also usually security benefits from improved visibility into SaaS ecosystem, particularly shadow IT. o PER YEAR PER MONTH Source: Zylo Balancing Employee Choice and Compliance As the percentage of employees expensing SaaS grows, so does the average utilization rate. Source: Zylo 26.2 31.3 20 16.4 9.4 7.4 18.5 66.5 68.3 66.2 63.5 49.4 44.9 59.8 Percentage of Employee Expensing SaaS Average Utilization Rate Company Size 0-100 501-2,500 5,001-10,000 Total Average 101-500 2,501-5,000 10,000+ 888-999-0805 781-321-6500 415-707-0569 628-243-5870 800-374-4353 317-350-4466 SaaS Management Platform Providers with Channel Programs 11 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK


Business Meets Pleasure in the Desert at CVx Scottsdale For more info contact us | 480-503-0770 CVx Attendance Includes l Independent Agents & Technology Solutions Brokerages (Master Agents) l MSPs & IT Partner Distributors, Resellers & Sales Consultants l Communications & Cloud Solutions Providers l Cybersecurity and Software Vendors TSB representation at CVx 2022 included Telarus, TBI, Teledynamic, Intellysis, Sandler Partners, Avant, AppSmart, Jenne, BCM One, Moruga and NHC Location Educational Content Four concurrent tracts to recharge partner sales efforts for 2024: l Sales Training Tract l Financial Tract l Emerging Tech Tract l Cybersecurity Tract Agenda Highlights l 3 Days of Expo Hall (Tightened Hours) l 2 Days of Educational Sessions & Bootcamps l Opening Day Golf Tournament l Opening Night Reception l Series of Sponsored ‘Meet-Me’ Events l Complimentary Expo Hall Meals & Refreshments l Expo Hall Networking Events EnTelegent Solutions EPIC iO Ericsson (Silver) Fastlink Software First Comm FISPA (Fiber Internet Service Providers) FluentStream (Bronze) For2Fi, Inc. GoldSky Cyber Security GoTo (Bronze) Grandstream Granite (Bronze) Gravity Systems, Inc. GreenStar Marketing (Bronze) GTT (Bronze) Hiya (Bronze) Infiflex IntelePeer Intermedia (Bronze) Iron Mountain Data Centers Jabra Jenne, Inc. (Silver) Kaduu Konftel Level.AI Lochbox MACH Networks (Silver) Malwarebytes 1stPoint Communications 888VoIP (Bronze) Abundant IoT (Gold) Aircall (Silver) AireSpring (Silver) Altaworx / AMOP Arelion Aryaka (Silver) Astound Business Solutions Azuga (Gold) Bicom Systems (Silver) Bigleaf Networks Blackfoot Communications (Silver) Business & Bourbon (Bronze) BuzzTheory C3 Complete (Gold) Clear Live (Silver) Compliance Solutions (Bronze) Console Connect Coro Cox Business (Silver) Crexendo (Silver) CyberReef (Bronze) Cyolo DE-CIX North America (Bronze) Dialpad DynaLink Energy by Tune Mojenta MyCloudIT National Retail Solutions, a division of IDT Corporation NHC (Platinum) Nextiva (Platinum) NTS Direct (Gold) NUSO (Gold) Ooma Inc (Silver) OpenVPN Orca Wave Peerless Network phoenixNAP Poly (Gold) Profitec Billing Services Quest Technology Management (Gold) Red Jacket Solutions, LLC Reinvent Telecom Rev.IO (Bronze) RingCentral (Silver) RITALIA FUNDING (Bronze) Sage Management (Bronze) Sandy Beaches Software SCB Global Simplified Networks (Bronze) SkyAMP SkySwitch Snapcom LLC (Bronze) Snom, a Vtech Company (Gold) Sophos (Silver) Spectrum (Silver) TailWind Voice & Data Technology Solutions Xchange (TSX) Telarus (Silver) Telecom for Change TeleDynamics Telesystem (Platinum) Telispire Telstra (Bronze) Thermo Credit ThreatLocker (Bronze) TimelyBill (Silver) TMCnet/ITEXPO Touchstone Technologies Inc. (Bronze) TouchTone Communications Trifecta Telephony Uncode (Platinum) UScellular (Bronze) Viirtue LLC (Silver) VoIP Supply (Bronze) Wildix Inc. (Silver) Windstream Enterprise (Platinum) xAmplify Xcitium (Silver) Zadara 2022 CVx EXHIBITORS & SPONSORS INCLUDED Talking Stick Resort & Casino, Scottsdale. Ariz.

By Brady Hicks SaaS Under Attack The sneaky underworld of SaaS penetration Every day, legitimate bad actors are finding new ways to infiltrate operations, steal critical data and prey on the mistakes made by a remote workforce. Traditionally, these attacks often have come by luring users to log into a spoofed site and stealing their credentials. Most often, threat actors sought to gain user trust by appearing as a link in one’s email from a seemingly legitimate source, whether an established business or a trusted contact. Sometimes they include nonsensical threats. Other times, it’s more of a numbers game. Now, according to new data published by Palo Alto Networks, a new method of fostering trust has emerged that is far more sinister – and difficult to detect. Cybercriminals are now targeting SaaS (software as a service) platforms, which are otherwise used in an official capacity, to host their own deceptive phishing scams. With this tactic, the victim is conned into believing he or she is logging into a legitimate interface, as it totally appears to be one. The phishing page is posted on the authentic platform and can take the form of everything from website builders to form generators to blogs and other communications software. All to the tune of a 1,100 percent increase in attacks over the single-year period from June 2021 to June 2022. 14 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

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Why SaaS? By its nature, a SaaS environment is designed to provide a low- or no-code experience for its users. Unfortunately, this also allows malicious actors to more easily copy and modify pages to use for their own means. With minimal effort, the cybercriminal can create a spoofed page to collect user logins and sensitive information. And, because it resides on an existing, trusted domain, it is better at (a) luring users and (b) evading detection. It’s been so effective, in fact, that Palo Alto observed a “significant” jump in “platform-abuse phishing URLs” since the onset of 2020. Coincidentally, this coincides with the sweeping work-from-home changes instituted due to COVID-19 quarantining. And, despite a slight lull last holiday season, the trend has been surging since February 2022. Common Targets Attacks ballooned from 2,000 per month (April 2022) to nearly 7,000 (June 2022). These assaults occurred almost regardless of SaaS platform use case and have been growing in frequency since the second half of 2021. Palo Alto detailed the most commonly observed attacks as: Personal Branding, which is used primarily to list personal social media, professional sites and portfolios. According to research presented by email security provider Cofense, attackers use these types of platforms because they present a more difficult obstacle toward identifying hosted dangers, especially versus those offered by the top cloud providers. Essentially, they work because they tend to remain undetected – and thus live – online for longer periods of time. Palo Alto noted nearly five existing URLs that were targeted by attacks, per week, over the period studied. Design/Prototyping, for drafting and trialing various web elements. Four attacks per week were observed through the course of the study. Note-Taking/Collaboration, assisting detailed logs, other documents and dashboard creation. Palo Alto recorded just more than three strikes per week in this area. Website Building, which uses a low- or no-code environment to help quickly generate websites. Two attacks per week were noted. Form Building, for creating custom forms and surveys. This area accounted for slightly more than one attack per week. File Sharing, which assists with file hosting and collaboration. Palo Alto logged approximately one attack every other week. The Takeaway Today’s businesses – especially those with a remote or hybrid workforce – need to be more judicious in monitoring SaaS activity. They should also be better equipped with advanced URL filtering and other cybersecurity options for detecting and eliminating these scams before they can do damage. You can no longer trust a URL just because you recognize the domain or platform behind it. That’s the downside to low- and no-code environments: intricate phishing scams can be implemented just as easily as legitimate tasks. And, more troublingly, most conventional cybersecurity techniques tend to miss them. Palo Alto recommends a hybrid approach to fighting these types of attacks, including: • Promoting awareness regarding credentials theft. • Flagging and confirming legitimacy for any request for login. • Being wary of recommendations for urgent or timely action. • Visiting sites directly rather than following links. • Employing URL filtering, with machine learning, to examine web content in detail. • Removing suspicious activity immediately when detected. J In other words, be careful. This trend isn’t likely to go away. Which activities are the most time-consuming? Number of Newly Discovered Phishing. URLs Hosted on Legitimate SaaS Platforms per Week Source: Palo Alto Networks 8000 6000 2020-04-01 2020-07-01 2020-10-01 2021-01-01 2021-04-01 2021-07-01 2021-10-01 2022-01-01 2022-04-01 4000 2000 0 Num. URLs (10-week Moving Average) Percentage of all Newly Discovered Phishing URLs Found Being Hosted on Legitimages SaaS Platforms Source: Palo Alto Networks 8000 6000 2020-04-01 2020-07-01 2020-10-01 2021-01-01 2021-04-01 2021-07-01 2021-10-01 2022-01-01 2022-04-01 4000 2000 0 Pct. Phishing URLs (10-week Moving Avg.) Routine or mundane administrative tasks Routine or mundane customer interactions Trying to find the answer or information Training 26% 34% 18% 14% 17% 14% 17% 17% 16 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

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With the ever-expanding SaaS ecosystem and widening adoption of clouddelivered solutions, efficient procurement of SaaS solutions has become more crucial and complex for startups and enterprises alike. A survey by Gartner, for instance, found that between 2019 and 2021, there was a 44 percent increase in the use of collaboration SaaS tools alone, and with this increase in usage, 80 percent of vendors also increased their list pricing by an average of 10 percent annually All the while, low visibility into pricing and a limited ability to negotiation pricing has left businesses overpaying for SaaS products, argue executives at SaaS purchasing platform provider Vertice. Recent analysis by Vertice suggests as much as 90 percent of SaaS buyers are overpaying by an average of 20 percent to 30 percent. Vertice’s database consists of more 13,000 SaaS vendors across more than 100 countries, with detailed product information and analytics on the most popular applications. The company has amassed tens of thousands of price points from multiple sources and has negotiated more than 10,000 contracts with a total value exceeding $300 million. A major challenge in SaaS procurement, argued a recent Vertice report, is the lack of true price transparency. According to the company, “There can be stark differences between the list prices of software and what companies are actually paying for them.” While some vendors publish their pricing directly on their websites or through certain third parties, as much as 55 percent of vendors obscure pricing from potential customers. Within the project collaboration sector specifically, data shows that only 14 percent of project collaboration vendors reveal their full pricing list online, well below the SaaS industry average. That lack of transparency, of course, works mostly to the vendor’s advantage. In addition to preventing buyers from comparison shopping, it also forces them to enter the vendor’s sale funnel in order to get pricing information. Another challenge for businesses is a lack of negotiation bandwidth. According to Vertice’s analysis of project collaboration vendors’ sales, businesses that are able to actively negotiate pricing are paying an average of $15.22 per seat per month, securing an average discount of 22 percent off of list prices. In other SaaS segments, businesses that actively negotiate have been able to secure discounts in the range of 15 percent to 34 percent. Analysis of pricing models also revealed that businesses can find savings by opting for longer term contracts. Nearly 90 percent of project collaboration vendors offer discounts based on term length. And keep a close eye on autorenewal clauses, Vertice executives warned. Virtually all of the project collaboration vendors surveyed have autorenewal clauses in their contracts by default. That includes the nearly third of vendors that increases prices in the last two years. It’s not uncommon, after all, for vendors to automate the cost increases that are passed onto customers, said the report. J Controlling SaaS Overspend By Martin Vilaboy If y ur employer d ci es not to o†er opportuniti s for you to work remote some or all of the time long term, how likely would you be to look for opportunities for employment with other organizations? Source: Gallup List Price Vs. Average Price Paid Source: Vertice Exclusively remote % who chose “extremely likely” Hybrid On-site 37 60 19 29 11 15 June 2021 June 2022 Most Productive Day for Workers 46% 40% 35% 43% 31% 29% 27% -01 2022-04-01 01 2022-04-01 34% Vendor 1 Vendor 2 Vendor 3 Vendor 4 Vendor 5 Vendor 6 Vendor 7 Price Per User Per Month $0 $5 $10 $15 $20 $25 $30 $25.00 $18.75 $24.99 $16.50 $24.80 $20.83 $19.00 $15.20 $18.00 $15.30 $16.00 $11.68 $10.00 $8.30 List Price Average Price Paid 18 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

20 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK By Martin Vilaboy According to some estimates, there are more than 15,000 SaaS companies around the world competing for the attention of business decision makers. And once any attention has been gained, the targeted business can choose to purchase a SaaS solution directly from the software vendor, or they can be redirected to the vendor’s indirect channel. They can purchase the software as part of a bundle from their ISP or telecom provider, or they could engage a trusted technology advisor, such as a value-added reseller or managed service provider. A new report put out by AppSmart, as a follow-up to a similar 2017 report, sheds some light on how and from where small and mid-sized business are finding, buying, using and best benefitting from cloud-based business applications. And with all things being equal, it turns out things are not equal in terms of results and return on investment. As far as the top reasons an SMB chooses to work with their primary source of software, knowledge, customer service and support and an easy buying process take the top three spots on the list, shows findings from the survey, which was conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of AppSmart. Trust that the provider/vendor understands the SMB’s needs, as well as the expectation for lower costs come in a close fourth and fifth. “For any providers attempting to convince SMBs that they can’t trust competing SaaS sellers, the findings show this tactic seldom works,” said AppSmart researchers. SMBs put “lack of trust in other providers” last in the list of reasons for choosing a SaaS partner. Similarly, providers cannot assume that SMBs will continue to buy from them because of the inherent barriers or “headaches” to switching providers. How SMBs are buying and benefitting from cloud business apps THE SaaS SALES JOURNEY

21 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK Only 25 percent of responding SMBs said that they don’t want to disrupt their business by switching providers, leaving 75 percent that would turn to a provider offering better knowledge or higher levels of customer support. This is especially true considering that when SMBs select their primary providers/ vendors based on the level of knowledge of technology and customer service and support, they are more likely to say that they’re getting good ROI from their business technology, showed the AppSmart findings. Looking at the scorecard as it stands now, about half of SMBs (51 percent) purchase their SaaS business software from vendors directly, growing slightly from the 49 percent that said they went straight to the vendors in 2017. However, technology advisors gained ground since the last survey, as well, with 28 percent of SMBs now turning to them for software versus 21 percent in 2017. ISPs/telcos slipped from 27 percent in 2017 to 20 percent in 2021. Software vendors likewise are doing the best job of communicating to customers and prospects about new products and services. Marketing communications from vendors effectively ties at the top with communications from industry organizations and IT professional organizations in terms of where SMBs hear about new SaaS solutions. The remaining top five sources feature another tie between IT trade publications and websites and colleagues in similar organizations, at 36 percent each. Technology advisors rank seventh (32 percent) out of nine sources while ISPs/telecom providers rank eighth (28 percent). Breaking down SMBs by size, the figures show that larger SMBs (101250 employees) are much more likely to turn to a technology advisor, such as a VAR, MSP or other channel partner, for information on new SaaS solutions, at 44 percent compared to only 23 percent of small SMBs (1 to 10 employees) and 35 percent of medium SMBs (11-100 employees) who said the same. For SMBs that get their SaaS information from technology advisors, they are about equally likely to agree as disagree that they are getting good ROI (32 percent versus 29 percent), “which shows that messages emphasizing the value of solutions aren’t getting through to SMB targets,” said AppSmart researchers. The same applies to SMBs getting their information from ISPs/telecom companies, where they are split between agreeing (28 percent) and disagreeing (27 percent) that they see good ROI. Some small SMBs (15 percent) aren’t being reached by any of these sources. These SMBs are also significantly less likely to agree (only 5 percent) that they’re getting good ROI for their technology investments. Once an SMB prospect learns about a new solution, the factors most important to selecting an advisor or provider are pricing and overall cost savings (44 percent), easy-to-access customer service (43 percent), industry knowledge (43 percent), “knowledge of business our size” (35 percent), the existence of useful self-service tools (33 percent) and recommendations from a colleague or friend (29 percent). Location ranked last, “perhaps reflecting the shift to remote/hybrid work models and digital adoption,” said AppSmart. The Return The type of provider an SMB ultimately chooses has a direct impact on the type of return the business gets from its investment, the AppSmart and Wakefield figures suggest. After all, the vast majority of SMBs (84 percent) experience at least some difficulty in using new SaaS solutions. Most notable are difficulties surrounding maintenance and troubleshooting, adopting Which of the factors are most important to you in selecting a technology advisor? Pricing and overall savings 44% Easy-to-access customer service 43% Knowledge of my industry 43% Knowledge of business our size 35% Offers useful self-service tools 33% Recommended by colleagues or friends 29% Local to my community 27% None of these are important 3% Source: Wakefield Research; AppSmart How do you generally hear about a SaaS solution? Professional organizations in our industry 38% Marketing communications from software vendors 37% Professional organizations for those working in IT 37% Trade publications or websites for IT professionals 36% Colleagues at similar organizations 36% Trade publications or websites for our industry 33% Our technology advisory service 32% Our telecom or internet provider 28% Other 1% I haven’t learned about new SaaS solutions through any of these sources 7% Source: Wakefield Research; AppSmart

or migrating to the service, and training staff tied with selecting the service. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed (24 percent) indicated that purchasing the service is usually difficult. Even so, more than half (56 percent) of SMBs strongly agree that they’re getting good ROI from the investments they make in business technology. But SMBs that use technology advisors are more likely to agree that they get good ROI from their business technology investments compared to those that don’t use technology advisors. Using outside professional assistance for adoption and migration also increases the likelihood of achieving good ROI, with 96 percent of those that do agreeing or strongly agreeing that they see good ROI for their investment in business technology. Perhaps this is not surprising. “Unlike large enterprises, SMBs often lack the IT staff, skills and experience, time and budget to deploy technology within their business and drive user adoption of the new technology,” said the AppSmart report. “Without guidance and assistance from external partners such as technology advisors, it can be difficult for SMBs to maximize the value they get from new software to achieve a good return on investment.” Indeed, small SMBs are less likely (47 percent) to strongly agree that they achieved good ROI from their business technology investments, while medium (62 percent) and large (61 percent) companies are more likely to strongly agree. Incidentally, those that aren’t using any SaaS applications are more likely to disagree (29 percent) that they get good ROI, with only 5 percent agreeing that they get good ROI from their technology investments. The survey also found that SMBs experiencing certain pain points are more likely to disagree that they see a satisfactory ROI from there technology investment. The difficulties that are most likely to negatively affect perceptions of a return include issues with ongoing management, maintenance and troubleshooting, migration and the solution selection process. In turn, two-thirds of SMBs use professional assistance for adoption or migration of new software, and those that do use professional assistance are more likely to agree that they see good ROI from their business technology. SMBs also report to “spending too much time” dealing with multiple SaaS suppliers. Nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of SMBs believe that their company spends more time than they should interacting with SaaS vendors and processing invoices because they use multiple SaaS suppliers. In 2017, 66 percent said they wanted to consolidate their cloud services purchases to have only one vendor to deal with. One of the drivers for this was having everything on one bill for easier invoice management. SaaS vendors and solution providers also shouldn’t be surprised if they encounter reluctance among SMB buyers to quickly pull the trigger on a new solution. During the uncertainty of the pandemic, SMBs were forced to rapidly make changes and deployment decisions without undergoing normal levels of due diligence. And according to the Wakefield Research survey, 52 percent of SMBs said they made SaaS investments in response to the pandemic that ended up not being a good fit for their businesses. It sounds like more SMBs could use the help of technology advisors and partners that understand not only the technology their selling but the needs of the business they are selling to. o Which of these aspects of using a new SaaS solution, if any, are usually difficult for your company? Maintenance and troubleshooting 34% Adopting or migrating to the service 33% Training staff on using the new service 32% Selecting the service 32% Ongoing management 29% Purchasing the service 24% None of these are difficult for us 16% Source: Wakefield Research; AppSmart Contributing Factors to Ensure Positive Growth in 2022 Source: CompTIA For Those with these difficulties... Source: Wakefield Research; AppSmart In 2021, picking up business from existing customers topp d the list of growth factors needed for the coming year Don’t believe they see good ROI Agree that they do see good ROI 42% 34% 34% 32% 32% 31% 24% 17% 17% 28% 34% 32% 31% 24% 45% 41% 41% 41% 32% Reaching new customer segments Selling new business lines/products Return to normal commerce patterns Pickup in business with xisting customers Higher COVID vaccination rates Improved sales/marketing Positive government action (i.e. deregulation) Entering new vertical markets Ongoing management Maintenance and troubleshooting Adoption and migration Solution selection Purchasing Launching business consulting s rvices 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 22 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK