Why Cloud Makes Sense for Small and Medium Businesses

 cloud for SMB

Numbers don’t lie! The SMB Cloud market is growing faster than ever…

At present, the SMB market for Cloud-based software is pegged somewhere around $28 billion. In 2015, the SMB market was at $25.2 billion, and it is expected to reach $34.9 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Cloud software specialist Odin.

RightScale’s annual State of the Cloud Report™ for 2016 has also some interesting numbers to share – 82 percent of enterprise companies have a multi-Cloud strategy (or hybrid Cloud). For SMBs, research finds that overall multi-Cloud adoption has risen from 58 percent to a staggering 71 percent year-on-year.

Major growth drivers include hosted business apps, software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps (for file sharing, payroll and human resources), and online backup and storage, all forecast to post a CAGR of 23.9 percent in the three years and reach $12 billion. Infrastructure-as-as-service (IaaS) currently valued at $9.4 billion, continues to be the largest market opportunities for Cloud-based services.

The key summary of all these statistics and numbers are very simple. The SMB Cloud market is gaining great momentum and help us answer – Why does Cloud makes sense for SMBs? Why are SMBs moving to the Cloud? Is it adopted for improved business efficiency or  better ROI? Or is it the cost savings and ease-of-use that makes Cloud popular?

Here is the answer:

The many benefits of Cloud for SMBs

Cloud computing provides several benefits to SMBs. The real business benefits that Cloud brings to SMBs, can be summed up in three key points:

  • Both the hardware and Cloud application services are managed by the provider
  • Service availability as per business requirements, and quicker deployments
  • All the provisioned resources are expandable or retractable. It is based on pay-only-for-what-you-use model

Now, let’s look into the top 5 benefits of Cloud computing for SMBs:

1. Cost Savings:  With Cloud computing and Cloud storage services, SMBs need not invest lump sum amounts into telecom and computing resources to run their  businesses. Enterprises can hire the resources and need not bother about running these resources as well. All businesses need to do is to part with operating expenses rather than capital investment. So, instead of diverting huge working capital on hardware and the staff to manage it, enterprises can focus on growing the business.

2. Mobility:  For SMBs to prosper, it is important that data is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection. The Cloud computing applications help SMBs achieve that at a nominal price. This empowers the workforce to work from any location, especially for those employees who  are always on the go. The result is an astonishing improvement in productivity.

3. Security:  Security was always one of the biggest hindrances that was stopping SMBs from Cloud adoption in the past. Today, Cloud application, management and storage service providers use state-of-the-art encryption and multi-factor authentication to ensure data security. There are different user controls that allow only authorized users to access sensitive data.

4. Scalability: Every SMB want to grow into a big business. And that’s exactly where Cloud computing is playing a stellar role – enabling growth for SMBs. As demand soars, SMBs can easily increase their storage and bandwidth to accommodate the increased data flow. New services can be provisioned and deployed quickly in case of a sudden spike in business. And it is always easy to add additional functionality in the software apps. In other words, SMBs can easily scale up with Cloud migration.

5. Pay as you use: The biggest advantage of them all is the pay-as-you-go model. Cloud services are available as a utility model. This  indicates that you don’t need to buy and build computing services, but just rent them instead. Cloud computing allows SMBs to scale, customize and provision computing resources, including software, storage and development platforms. SMBs can quickly get access to all these services including Cloud Application, Cloud Management, Cloud Migration, Cloud Storage and more without buying, building and maintaining an entire infrastructure.

Cloud computing has empowered SMBs to compete with bigger and more established businesses. With the flexibility, scalability, and affordability of the Cloud, even the smallest and newest of businesses can have the benefit of a cutting edge infrastructure and IT department from the very start.

Top 10 Cloud benefits for SMBs:

  1. Access to infrastructure
  2. Greater scalability
  3. Higher availability
  4. Faster time-to-market
  5. Improved flexibility
  6. Capital cost reduction
  7. Streamline operations
  8. Less support staff requirements
  9. Better disaster recovery
  10. Increased business competitiveness

Examples from business world. Some of the popular Cloud services used by SMBs.

Office 365: Great productivity tool for SMBs having enormous data to store – too many emails exchange, multiple desktop applications to manage, and fair amount of online conferencing and instant messaging to handle. Currently, it is the most-used productivity suite (36 percent) by a wide margin for SMBs. Its use-only-what-you-need model, along with a full terabyte of Cloud storage per user and access to “the latest version of Office” as soon as Microsoft updates its desktop, mobile and Web apps – gives clear advantages to SMBs. Reliability and security are also top notch.

Salesforce CRM: The easy to use, all-inclusive, Cloud-based CRM is loaded with features apt for SMB operations. It has all the tools and applications to gather leads, convert them into sales, and then finally turn them into loyal customers. One of the best features of Salesforce CRM is its advanced automation so that instead of spending time on micromanaging – SMBs can focus on growing their own businesses.

Drop Box: Cloud storage which allows users to access, share, edit, collaborate any type of files (word files, images or videos) from almost all internet-enabled device. With 33 percent adoption, it is the number one Cloud-storage solution in the market. It is a favourite among SMBs as a result of its  user-friendly setup and configuration tools, mobile support, and broad consumer adoption. Big files can be uploaded and stored easily without worrying about data loss.

The road ahead…

With Cloud computing, SMBs can compete with the bigger and more established names in the business. The flexibility, scalability, and affordability offered by Cloud computing applications and solutions, has equipped even the smallest and newest of SMBs to leverage the benefit of  cutting-edge infrastructure and IT department of a large enterprise.

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