The small business space is the single fastest growing segment of the global economy. That's a fairly broad statement that can be difficult to conceptualize and even more difficult to distill into a meaningful business strategy. In other words, although there is ample opportunity for a partner in this space, where does one begin?
Should one attack organizations by industry vertical? If so, in what industry verticals do smaller enterprises traditionally reside? Regardless of vertical, most smaller organizations have similar technical needs. For instance:
Do more with less
Maintain or enhance up-time
Reduce complexity while increasing simplicity
These are just a few in a long list, however you get the point. Likewise, these points can be extrapolated to fit a multitude of business types and situations including that of the smaller or local government. Traditionally, many think of government as a monolithic entity that would surely fall outside the scope of NOWS-SBE (Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition). In some instances this is correct however often times there are standalone government offices that:
Don't have a dedicated IT staff
Require scalable file and print services
Require a viable alternative to Microsoft because of government mandates
This is the opportunity Touchstone Technology in Beaverton Oregon saw with NOWS-SBE. An immediate issue after identifying this opportunity was how to obtain a government contract. As many of you know, this can be a tough process. The answer: Partner with an existing organization who has a state/government contract however who does not possess the expertise to deploy the aforementioned solution. In such a situation the smaller entity is the SME. The larger provides the keys the castle (for a nominal cut in the action). Both increase their brand equity and everyone leaves with slightly heavier wallets or purses.
Closing the loop, partnering in this way can be a mutually beneficial situation for both organizations. In this market there is absolutely no need for any organization to attempt to master all aspects of technology. However, it is critical for many organizations to sharpen their business acumen skills so as to better understand when it's appropriate to partner, opposed to develop a new skill set.