Cisco’s Small Business Partner Summit is taking place virtually this week, outlining the importance and growth potential of the small business sector across the Middle East and Africa. Small businesses account for 44% of all IT spending and continue to outpace traditional enterprise growth. On Tuesday 2nd March, summit attendees will be provided with insights into Cisco Designed – a tailor-made portfolio that delivers simple, secure and flexible products, available at competitive price points to help small businesses to thrive.
Participants will also learn about Cisco’s Partner Programs, incentives, and rewards to expand their own business offerings, while simultaneously empowering small business customers in their endeavors to leverage digital solutions. “The pandemic has intensified the digital divide that was already present in the small business market, and it is pushing companies to accelerate their digitization agendas,” said Hani Raad, General Manager of Small Business at Cisco MEA. “Business owners are realizing that digitization is essential, not only to ensure continuity today but to secure future growth and resiliency. With our growing portfolio of software and hardware solutions for small businesses, alongside tailored advisory, Cisco is playing a pivotal role in empowering the sector to thrive – at times of crisis and beyond. We look forward to sharing key learnings from the past year and exploring new growth opportunities at the Partner Summit.”
Indicating strong progress and understanding of the importance of investing in technology, IDC’s META DX Survey notes that 60% of small and medium businesses in the region have brought forward their digital transformation roadmaps by between 1 to 2 years. This acceleration has led to significant growth on digital and non-digital IT spending. Cisco notes growing to spend on areas including advanced malware protection, intent-based networking, and intelligent meeting spaces.
At the Small Business Partner Summit, attendees will hear from local and global experts on research, advisory and digital transformation services designed to navigate the following opportunities and challenges:
Organizations are at Different Stages of their Digitization Journeys
While the Middle East and Africa as a whole have witnessed accelerated efforts to invest in digitization, small businesses remain at varying stages of maturity and digital readiness. Early adopters of technologies such as digital network architecture, cloud solutions, AI, and machine learning are better equipped to not only ensure continuity but also streamline operations, gain valuable insights and thrive. Businesses with greater digital maturity are not only better equipped to deal with cyber threats and changing network demands, but they also have a higher rate of recovery, due to their ability to respond faster to changing market conditions.
The Potential of Technology is Commonly Understood, But Shared Challenges Remain
The pandemic heightened the fact that digitization can no longer be a choice for small businesses, it is a necessity. The majority of small businesses in the region and worldwide have accelerated investments in digitization in recent months. Yet, small businesses are also facing challenges related to different working styles, ensuring employee safety, and managing cashflow. Additionally, a shortage of digital skills and talent, alongside a degree of resistance to change and lack of budget are key challenges for small businesses, and some of these factors were the case even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Small Businesses are Investing in Similar Areas
As small businesses become increasingly reliant on digital technologies, decision-makers are investing in solutions that have the potential to improve outcomes for their employees and customers alike. Over the next year, small businesses are planning to invest in cloud adoption and cloud optimization, as well as on-premises infrastructure, including both software and hardware. Security optimization services, enhancing customer experience and collaboration technology, and intelligent meeting spaces are some of the key areas focus areas for small business decision-makers today. More mature businesses are also deploying intelligent networks that leverage AI and analytics to further drive visibility and competitiveness.
At the Cisco Small Business Partner Summit, attendees will learn how to adapt to the current climate and futureproof their business offerings while empowering small business growth. Following the event, all content will be made available to the public for on-demand viewing for a period of 60 days.