Working in the cloud is beneficial for every company and organization, but the smaller the business is, the more useful the so-called ‘clouding’ will become. In fact, cloud computing began gaining momentum right when small and medium businesses discovered what it can do for them, and adopted it with the very purpose to expand and impose their brands, both at that moment and in the future. Small and mid-sized companies rarely face the insurmountable obstacles of their larger counterparts, and they need a web-based asset to simplify their processes, rather than content-heavy downloads whose advanced capacity they won’t be using.
However you put it, cloud computing is a blessing in disguise for all the startups and growing businesses out there. It doesn’t require out-of-the shelf investment and complex set up, but it still keeps brands present and effective in the varying business environment. As a result, these companies are able to push even their long-term mission through, and to do it in a smooth and affordable fashion.
The role of cloud computing is huge in general, regardless of whether businesses have to pay to obtain the service, or use it as an open-source one. What can be certainly confirmed with a long list of examples is that many small and mid-sized businesses became more popular and more professional thanks to working in cloud.
There is no room to expect information technology to quit its positive expansion, or to lose the influence it currently has in the business sphere. Reducing paperwork and going viral granted so many benefits to expanding businesses that the influence became measurable, and the business models followed the stream and slowly adjusted to it. In particular, non-critical applications will move even more massively to the cloud, and infrastructure will be completely reinvented for cloud applications to meet bigger performance demands, as Pete Sonsini explains in one of his popular Techcrunch articles. The technological business aspect is nowadays an imperative one for starting a business, because cloud computing still requires both human and financial input to be considered in advance. It is exactly the cost of implementing a cloud technology solution that is stopping many growing businesses from adopting one, but if we were to ask, that’s only because they haven’t been able to foresee the positive effect this decision could have on them.
According to FinancesOnline, a popular software reviews platform, that’s why for many years sophisticated applications were the privilege of selected large companies, which had the funds not just to undertake such an experiment, but also to cover operation and maintenance, and to secure it in the hands of reliable deployment companies that know how to make the most of internet technology. This constraint has made the advancement of small business into the enterprise/customer class quite limited. Only the larger companies, which have sufficient funds to purchase the required application sophistication, support the operational cost, and care for a reliable deployment, have benefitted from the true potential of information technology.
Funding was another problem removed by cloud computing, as it took away some of the scarce, fund-exhausting, and insurmountable problems, such as for instance building, deploying, and maintaining the necessary software infrastructure. As cloud computing appeared, small and medium businesses understood technology is their ally rather than their enemy and started simply erasing the gaps and breaches between them and their larger competitors.
As you can see, cloud computing is of paramount importance for small and medium companies to organize their businesses, which is why we summarized the ten most important reasons for the companies to dive deeper into this new technology discovery:
1. Keeping in line with trends
Technology is advancing day by day, and that’s most visible in the cloud computing environment. As soon as cloud computing became visible, large companies established a pace of focusing on trend innovations, and service providers followed by integrating all technical facilities they need. In the blink of an eye, there were thousands of creative startups, released out-of-the-box applications, and more and more cases where cloud computing technology could be applied. The development trend soon took an even higher development line, and everything that was happening in online businesses started to happen directly in the cloud.
Many tools that were in charge of effective collaboration, customer relationship, or lead generation became cloud-exclusive, and could no longer be neglected neither by large nor by small and medium businesses.
2. Obtaining new business skills
IT management is one of the most cumbersome and demanding aspects of every business, be it a small startup or a reputable 10,000 employee enterprise. The more users there are the more applications the firm will receive, and will therefore require teams of permanently and part-time employed professionals to respond to them. Even the smallest IT department has to include support agents, administrators, networkers, developers, web technicians, hardware and database experts, which already counts for a bigger group than the small company’s supervisory board.
Forming a similar team can be daunting when you’re hitting it off, and you have a limited budget to impose yourself on the market. The thing cloud computing can help you with here is to be your gateway towards providing IT service even when you don’t have the skills or resources to do so. The cloud service provider will simply take some of the maintenance and support burden off your shoulders, letting you focus on far more important aspects of your business instead.
Scalability is the most distinctive business advantage cloud computing brought to small and medium businesses, being the core of their hard-work payoff. Nowadays, computing resources are shared between multiple users, meaning that most of them have access to a larger storage capacity, wider audiences, and the outstanding advantages of doing business on demand.
To business owners this means maintaining a dynamic and fluid IT environment at an off-the-shelf price, and being able to generate new services and customer interactions because they are allowed to flex both usage and pricing. This being said, try to guess which businesses will benefit the most?
4. A standardized software infrastructure
Unlike on-premise products, in-cloud services operate on the basis of common standards in their most important aspects, as for instance user interface, data display or authentication. This is the cherry on the cake for small and medium businesses that are allowed to choose from a vast range of complex technologies to integrate with their software and their needs without having to worry about installation.
Enabling such integrated experience on a single-platform cloud application is not demanding at all, but only a business which is facing the multiple options and integration obstacles understands the difficulty of choosing an appropriate program for tracking opportunities.
5. Facilitated access
Just because 24/7 access to applications has been for so long prescribed to solely big companies, it doesn’t mean that small and medium business don’t need all-round insight on their data. Today, when most businesses operate from various locations and use mobile devices, open access has become simply imperative for anyone interested to make their online presence meaningful.
Luckily enough, cloud storage has democratized both access and storage consumption of the web, and has made data more readily available than ever before. Applications are now widely accessible and compatible with all operating systems and devices, and we’re slowly but surely moving towards a full cloud-integration scenario, which is even hard to imagine with all the facilitating circumstances we already have at our disposal.
6. The possibility to choose
What small and medium businesses never had before is an opportunity to choose and explore a variety of business computing options. The cloud expansion provided them with many CRMs, accounting apps, chat & messaging products, and private collaboration channels, many of them even open-source and free. Even when the plans are paid, the transition is smooth and painless, which makes cloud applications anything but senseless investments.
7. Simplified infrastructure
If we had to pinpoint a reason why cloud computing is a smarter decision for small and mid-sized businesses than it is for large ones, we’d say that’s the fact that there is no software infrastructure to integrate complex cloud apps in. A company that has already gained momentum and works full steam, operates with a variety of third-party and homegrown systems that need to ‘absorb’ the new technology, and usually adopt only the part of it that is strictly necessary. Unlike dealing with these complex deployment processes, small and medium businesses accept cloud solutions completely, and use the SaaS application as it was provided to them, with no need of advanced IT.
8. Security precautions
Many companies are still blowing hot and cold on cloud integration, believing that sharing information in the cloud and working with it there can compromise its security. What most of them don’t realize is that cloud apps offer much more advanced safeguards than onsite systems, and that’s particularly important for smaller companies which have just a few apps and less infrastructure to monitor, and a small team whose access needs to be regulated. The cloud service provider commits to monitor and patch data against looming online hazards with expertise, much better than a small e-store with no security knowledge could or would be interested to do.
What is even more important is that cloud service providers deal with issues outside the scope of hacker threats, and will handle just fine power availability, network failures and outages, and even human errors once processes are automated. The reason why cloud computing providers are interested to do this is that they already had to undergo security compliance, and respond to harsh infrastructure requirements and operational practices in order to get where they are. More often than rare, they will ask for specific indications on how to protect your data, or help you familiarize with the most important cloud security regulations.
9. Performance support
What cloud computing providers highlight the most when promoting their services is available support and reliable performance – the features a business would either way get from IT infrastructures, but in a far more complicated way. The problem with onsite infrastructure is its organic complexity growth, which makes security more difficult to manage while putting more and more information in the system. If you’re a small or a medium company, it simply doesn’t make sense to manage this complex process just because you want to obtain the initially abstract advantage named ‘reliable support’. What you should do instead is to turn to a cloud service provider, and sign an explicit agreement tackling monitoring, access, availability, failure, migration, performance, and database uptime, and make sure you’re can count on someone to keep your business moving 24/7, no matter what.
10. Reduced cost
Reducing cost without affecting performance is the ultimate goal of every business, be it a small or a large one. Still, small and medium companies are the ones for which this is an absolute priority, and one of the most understandable reasons why they’re shifting to cloud computing with such a tempo. Transferring business to the cloud means paying for nothing more than what you use, which obviously keeps the idle resources within the company and provides an op-ex, friendlier revenue streams for growing businesses. Shifting business in cloud will also mean small and medium businesses get to experiment with ideas without being afraid of a costly failure, as mentioned in a great Forbes article about cloud computing benefits. At the same time, the company is not required to invest in cumbersome installations, maintenance, or settling troubleshooting teams, which is already enough for them to keep some extra cash in their account.
About the author: Chief editor of review team at FinancesOnline Alex Hillsberg an expert in the area of B2B and SaaS related products. He has worked for several B2B startups in the past and gathered a lot of first hand knowledge about the industry during that time.