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AppDirect Survey Finds SMBs Are Accelerating SaaS Adoption, See Greatest ROI Working with a Technology Advisor

September 21, 2021

New study reveals most SMBs use five or more SaaS applications, while a majority face challenges using new cloud-based solutions.

San Francisco, Calif – September 21st, 2021 – A new study released today by AppDirect®, the leading subscription commerce platform company, found that more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are using SaaS than ever before. In fact, the "AppDirect Small Business Software Trends Report 2021" found that 45 percent of SMBs have most or all of their business software based in the cloud, compared to just 24 percent in 2017. At the same time, SMBs are facing more difficulties with their cloud-based applications, such as migration and maintenance issues. To overcome these, an increasing number of SMBs, almost 48 percent, are turning to outside professionals, including technology advisors—such as consultants, channel partners, and telecom agents—and ISP / telecom services providers.

Other key findings from the global survey include:

Vendors Are a Go-To Source for SaaS, but Advisors Make Gains. Vendors are the leading source of software solutions for SMBs, with over half (51%) reporting they purchase SaaS business software directly from vendors. However, technology advisors have seen steady growth, increasing from 21 percent in 2017 to 28 percent today, while 20 percent of SMBs turn to telecom providers / ISPs.

SMBs Who Work with Advisors Experience Greater ROI. SMBs who use technology advisors are more likely to agree that they achieve good ROI from their business technology investments, compared to those that don’t. Using outside professional assistance for adoption and migration also greatly increases the likelihood of achieving good ROI, with 96 percent of SMBs agreeing or strongly agreeing that they see good ROI from their business technology.

Pricing, Customer Service, and Tech Knowledge Are the Top Reasons SMBs Work with Advisors. Knowledge of technology ranked first on the list of reasons why SMBs choose an advisor, with 51 percent of SMBs selecting it as their top choice. A close second was customer service and support, cited by 49 percent of SMBs, while a fast and easy buying process ranked third, with 46 percent of SMBs.

Technology Bundles Are an In-Demand Product. Of all of the products and services that SMBs purchased from advisors, technology bundles—such as hardware bundled with software, or software bundled with connectivity—were the most popular, with 36 percent of SMBs saying they had bought a bundle.

COVID-19 Raised the Stakes for SMBs and Technology. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 77 percent of SMBs say they have increased their reliance on technology. At the same time, more than half of SMBs, 52 percent, said that they ended up making a poor SaaS investment in response to the pandemic. These findings indicate the ongoing need for expert assistance in helping SMBs evaluate and choose SaaS and other business technology.

“The past few years have brought unprecedented challenges for SMBs, and data from our new SMB software trends report shows that SaaS and other cloud-based solutions have played a key part in helping SMBs adapt and thrive," said Daniel Saks, co-Founder and co-CEO of AppDirect. "The data from our survey is clear: SMBs are eager to adopt new technologies, and they are eager for expert advice and assistance in choosing the right solutions and making them work seamlessly. The opportunities for technology advisors to help SMBs through our current era of near-constant digital disruption are almost limitless."

Learn more and download the full report here.


AppDirect commissioned Wakefield Research to conduct an online survey of 2,000 SMB IT decision makers, 500 each in four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Businesses participating in the survey employ between 1 and 250 employees. The survey was conducted in June and July 2021.This survey, a follow up from AppDirect’s 2017 report, aims to generate insights around how these businesses are handling their transformation journey and adoption of cloud-based software, from purchasing to using these business applications.

About AppDirect

AppDirect offers a subscription commerce platform that removes the complexity of building a recurring business model. Sell any product, through any channel, on any device—as a service. Our platform opens up endless opportunities for commerce innovation, giving businesses the freedom to grow. We power millions of subscriptions worldwide for organizations like Jaguar Land Rover, Comcast, Sage, Keller Williams, ADP, and Deutsche Telekom.

©2021 AppDirect, Inc. All rights reserved. AppDirect is a registered trademark of AppDirect, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other brand and product names are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holder(s).

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