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Swiss Small Business Crisis: Navigating the Big Software Company Exodus

Small business owner

In the software (and to a lesser extent the IT consulting industry), a concerning trend is taking hold: major players are increasingly turning their backs on supporting small businesses. We've heard this directly from several major vendors and partners (independently) which has significantly concerned us and will have a major impact on our clients and the way we conduct business.

This shift is leaving a significant void in support for a critical segment of the market, particularly in Switzerland, where small businesses account for over 98%* of all businesses (enterprises under 49 employees).

This trend has far-reaching consequences. Small businesses are the backbone of the Swiss economy, playing a vital role in job creation, innovation, and community development. 

When small businesses lack the support they need from large software and IT consulting companies, it can be difficult for them to operate effectively, compete in the marketplace, and achieve their full potential.

To address this issue, we urge large companies to recognize the value of small businesses and make a commitment to providing them with the support they need. This can be done by:

  • Developing more affordable and flexible support options tailored to the needs of small businesses.

  • Provide tools and maintain partnerships with smaller vendors that specialize in providing the much needed IT support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • Taking the time and working directly with small businesses to understand their unique needs and challenges.

By taking these steps, large companies can help to ensure that small businesses have the resources they need to succeed, driving economic growth and prosperity in Switzerland.

Understanding the Retreat

The shift away from small business support is multifaceted, involving the escalating complexity of software, a pivot towards cloud services, and a strategic focus on larger, more lucrative enterprise accounts. Additionally, one major factor is the cost of providing support to a large number of small customers. Small businesses often have unique needs and require more personalized support than large enterprises. This can be a significant burden for large software companies, which may not see the return on investment they need.

  • In 2023, the average software company spent 19% of its revenue on customer support.

  • Small businesses account for only 15% of the total revenue of the software industry.

  • The cost of providing support to a small business is typically 2-3 times higher than the cost of providing support to a large enterprise.

As software becomes more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly difficult for large companies to provide adequate support to smaller customers. Small businesses often lack the resources and expertise to troubleshoot complex software problems.

As a result, many companies have decided to focus their support resources on their enterprise customers...

The Ripple Effect

This retreat has dire implications for small businesses, from diminished access to essential software and services to increased vulnerability to cybersecurity threats. The broader impact on innovation and entrepreneurship cannot be understated, with small enterprises finding it increasingly difficult to secure the technological backbone necessary for growth and competitiveness.

Charting a Course to Support

However, the situation is far from hopeless. There are actionable steps to mitigate these challenges:

  • Large firms can innovate support models to cater to small businesses, potentially through self-service platforms, tiered pricing, and bespoke support packages.

  • Strategic partnerships with niche software providers could offer a bridge, ensuring small businesses receive the focused attention they need without diluting the core competencies of larger firms.

OCIM: A Beacon for Swiss Small Businesses

At OCIM, we stand committed to filling this void, offering tailored IT solutions that address the unique needs of Swiss SMBs. Our approach combines deep technical expertise with a personal touch, ensuring your business not only survives but thrives in today's digital landscape.

OCIM isn't just a service provider; we're a partner and advocate for Swiss small businesses, actively engaging with industry bodies and leveraging strategic partnerships to enhance our support ecosystem.

Conclusion: A Call to Solidarity

The challenge posed by the exodus of big software support for small businesses is significant but not insurmountable. Through collaborative effort, innovative solutions, and a renewed focus on the unique value small businesses bring to our economy, we can navigate this crisis together.

OCIM is ready to lead the charge, supporting Swiss SMBs in harnessing technology to unlock their full potential.

*According to the Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland (FSO), the distribution of business size in Switzerland is as follows:

  • Micro-enterprises (1-9 employees): 89.76%

  • Small enterprises (10-49 employees): 8.43%

  • Medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees): 1.53%

  • Large enterprises (250+ employees): 0.28%

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