Remember Jan Brady in the ’70s sitcom The Brady Bunch? She was the awkward and often overshadowed middle child stuck between a glamorous older sister and an oh-so-cute little sister. Well, when it comes to IT infrastructure, that’s exactly how midmarket companies feel—like the overlooked middle child.
And they’re right. In fact, many IT vendors do have great products for large enterprise customers and many others have great products for small-business customers. But very few vendors focus on building solutions specifically for the midmarket. As a result, these companies often find themselves sitting down at the far end of the table.
Midmarket companies typically have two options. They can go out and try to cobble together a solution of different pieces from various vendors. But this often turns into a nightmare because they don’t have the people, resources or expertise to integrate different modules from different solutions and make them all work together seamlessly.
Or they can go out of their depth and opt for a high-end solution built for the large enterprise. The problem here is that these products are much too feature rich and expensive for their needs. Some enterprise vendors will try to “dumb down” their offerings for the midmarket but that hardly ever works. Such solutions are still extremely difficult to deploy and manage, requiring the large budgets and fully resourced IT teams that the average midmarket company simply does not possess.
Between these two approaches is a gap in which the midmarket feels vulnerable—some would even say abandoned. And their abandonment issues are especially acute when it comes to business continuity.
Midmarket companies have deployed applications that are critical to the operation of their business. But what happens if those applications go down? Who is there to support them? Unlike most enterprise organisations, midmarket customers don’t have redundant data centres they can rely on in an emergency. According to the Aberdeen Group, the cost of downtime is now $260,000 per hour on average. That can cripple or even kill a midmarket business.
Here are three ways midsize companies can solve the abandonment issue:
- Look for converged solutions
A converged scale-out solution with integrated data protection has been standard for some time at large enterprises but not for the midmarket. However, some vendors are now starting to cater specifically to the midmarket with solutions that not only offer data protection and disaster recovery, but also converge primary and secondary storage. This is critical because integrated data protection eliminates the need for third-party backup and replication software and hardware.
Unified data management also reduces the need for extra manpower and enables midmarket organisations to manage their IT architecture easily and more cost-effectively. After all, these companies want to spend less time managing their backup and storage infrastructure, and more time focused on priorities that are going to deliver business value, such as deploying new applications.
- Future-proof the data centre
Future-proofing is not about constantly replacing technology. Rather, it’s about making investments that allow companies to maximize their IT resources on an ongoing basis, which is especially critical for resource-constrained midmarket companies.
A future-proof data-management infrastructure is needed now more than ever because midsize businesses are choking on the amount of data they have to manage and the problem is only going to get worse. As organisation grow, their storage requirements increase, so they need a solution that gives the flexibility to infinitely expand the available storage capacity quickly and cost-effectively—with zero configuration and no application downtime.
- Put yourself in position to recover quickly and easily
Midmarket companies need to do everything in their power to minimize downtime in the event of a hardware failure or software malfunction. So, look for a data-protection system that is simple to deploy, easy to manage and reliable even under the most demanding circumstances. A system designed for the midmarket should also deliver orchestrated recovery with a single click. In the event of system failure, you should be able to recover and restore your entire infrastructure in a matter of minutes—not hours or days.
Jan Brady didn’t like being overlooked and, like middle children everywhere, she did something about it. She dared to be different, staked her place in the world and solved her own problems. Midmarket companies are doing the same. They’re demanding respect. And vendors that can give them what they want will be justly rewarded.