The concept of companies in general and how to run businesses has changed radically in recent years. This evolution of methodologies is due to the wave of technological advancement.
Technology is an important part of our lives and already plays a fundamental role in the evolution of all companies. The reasons are because technology helps to find new business models, management, and to undertake new market niches.
Another technological blessing is cloud computing in the business environment, which is already unstoppable and allows companies to offer commercial services through the network. Cloud computing facilitates the storage of information in cloud software. The information stored can be used by suppliers, customers, distributors, etc., that is, by all the agents involved in a commercial process.
While more and more large enterprises are striving for a “cloud van”, small and medium enterprises (SMBs) are still worried about whether the cloud will remain here or just a passing passion. SMBs still rely on large companies to “trial and error” such breakthrough technologies. The argument is that a large business can spend a lot of money – and only when technology or system has proven its worth in large companies, SMBs feel confident in their adoption.
However, these doubts quickly dissipate as more and more SMB cloud success stories are revealed. Groupon is a great example of a company that has grown rapidly with a minimum asset base, using cloud solutions from vendors such as Salesforce.com and Amazon – it manages a global user base of more than 35 million in less than five years from its inception.
Here are some basic drivers for adopting SMB cloud:
1. Real-time data access and ease of scaling
Small and medium-sized enterprises cannot afford expensive centralized data storage systems, which means that their data is scattered across several computers and, as a rule, may not be accessed remotely. It can create a serious problem for small and medium-sized businesses, as their business requires flexibility in terms of personnel use and operations. Cloud applications allow you to store all data in one repository, from where they can be accessed easily and remotely 24 × 7. Besides, since the cloud service provider owns updates and other changes to the application, SMB can manage its IT operations with a simple physical infrastructure and skeleton support service.
One of the ideas is that the factors underlying cloud platforms — easy scalability, lower operating costs, faster implementation, and faster return on investment — are more valuable to small and medium-sized businesses because they face stiffer competition for survival compared to their large counterparts.
Secondly, the easy build-in or slow-down feature offered by most cloud providers allow SMEs to scale their resources to reflect their growth path.
2. Availability of integrated cloud solutions
Business processes, such as data storage and distribution, task creation and distribution, communication and collaboration with colleagues, are essential for the success of any organization. They help organizations to work effectively in a diverse business environment. The growing number of business solutions on cloud platforms that are either end-to-end solutions or can be easily integrated with other additional cloud solutions on the market, which gives SMB the advantage of maximizing the use of the cloud for its business needs at a fraction of the cost of traditional on-premises decisions.
3. Greater data security
One of the most common doubts regarding whether or not to integrate the Cloud is security. Having the information available in the Cloud and having your access online generates questions regarding data vulnerability.
To avoid any security risk, cloud provider companies must:
- Be ready to invest in specific platforms, languages , and tools.
- Have a specialized team available to take care of stored data and be aware of possible attacks, security failures or system problems.
- It is important that users are aware of the risks and trained to safely and automatically manage the Cloud.
Cloud applications are thought to be more secure than the small storage hardware deployed by SMB, as data privacy and security are usually central to the value proposition of the cloud provider.
4. Economic benefits
Small and medium-sized enterprises need to work with minimal costs due to the competitive environment in which they are located. The pay-for-use models offered by cloud-based applications mean they have low upfront costs and can use the latest technology solutions with reasonable operating costs. And this allows small and medium-sized enterprises to offer enterprise-class solutions for their business tasks.
In general, cloud applications persist, and although it is still early, it is obvious that small and medium enterprises will need to use cloud technologies in the future if they want to stay ahead of the challenges and competition.
Cloud Computing, what advantage for Small businesses?
As a person providing advice to companies, I see only advantages. Cloud Computing today gives small businesses real potential and access to a range of services to which, perhaps, they could not previously access them. Access to applications and infrastructures that would have required a lot of investment, technical, human and of course, financial.
The major advantages rendered by this IT model lie in the flexibility of use of the service and great scalability of infrastructures. This last point will bring businesses significant power and agility in the development of their business by partially removing technical and financial constraints. Another aspect of Cloud Computing, which goes unnoticed, is the improvement of performance within companies. The contribution of tools or applications accessible by all and access to unique and pooled information accessible from anywhere brings an improvement in communication and decision-making within companies.
Cloud Computing opens new perspectives for all SMEs and can also be a business accelerator. Before deciding to switch to Cloud Computing services, there are a few precautions to take. It’s better to be supported with the expertise or know-how to be able to understand all the stages of a transition to Cloud Computing.
The future is in the cloud, and small companies must take advantage of it to survive in a growingly competitive environment. A Microsoft study showed that 33% of small businesses already use Cloud Computing and some businesses report the use of cloud-based applications – such as email, online bank and social media.
A study conducted by the CDW and published by Business Insider pointed out that 76% of small businesses have reduced their costs by moving their applications to the Cloud and have saved 24% a year.
There is still a long stretch to go when it comes to moving data storage technologies and infrastructure to the Cloud.