We’ve all heard that cloud technology has levelled the playing-field, giving smaller companies access to technology that was once only afforded by large enterprises. So it’s no surprise that SMB businesses - including start-ups – are increasingly turning to cloud. Interestingly, they may even be taking the lead in cloud computing adoption over the larger enterprises.
In response, vendors are making cloud technologies easier to adopt and more readily accessible. Services such as mobile and social are being offered on top of cloud, which means SMBs can spend less time and resources managing technology and more time leveraging it to grow their business.
Take Melbourne-based creative digital agency, Loft Group, for instance. With a team of only 20 people, it is able to develop a leading edge e-learning platform that services global conglomerates such as L’Oréal A small operation based in Australia, Loft Group is using the power of the Softlayer cloud, to host the e-learning platform at a global scale, across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Loft Group is doing what previously only large companies with deep enterprise IT architectures and infrastructure could do.
The success of The Loft Group is an excellent demonstration of the power, security and agility that cloud computing can deliver – enabling a grassroots, local company of modest size to tackle global markets, quickly adapt to changing market and technology demands and expand at an extraordinary rate
SMBs are also more receptive to the idea of flexible working - which aligns with what cloud can deliver. Cloud provides employees with the ability to access a hub of work data and applications across multiple devices when it suits them. With technology becoming one of the main drivers of change in business, the cloud provides a potent advantage. Its flexibility and accessibility to employees makes it the natural foundation for the integration of mobile, social media, and analytics within an organisation.
Despite the fact that SMBs that have taken the plunge in adopting cloud computing are now reaping the benefits, there is still hesitation within the sector. Some SMBs may think they are simply too small to require cloud services. But the reality is - cloud gives SMBs access to high end technology that allows them to compete with enterprises. With its scalability, cloud can grow with any business, regardless of size.
There are still a lot of SMBs who don’t know about cloud computing and how it can aid their businesses, and it is up to vendors like us to create suitable offerings and educate them on the benefits of cloud. Recently, IBM introduced its Cloud Marketplace which allows individuals within an organisation to deploy cloud-based software and services more conveniently. This kind of self-service makes it much easier for SMBs to understand how each offering can work for them and procure services to suit their needs at any given time.
For start-ups, having access to this type of cloud services can virtually eliminate resource constraints and connect them with the elements to get their new products and services into the hands of customers fast.
Cloud enables Australian SMBs to expand their global footprint by leveraging the same IT infrastructure anywhere in the world. The scale, speed and flexibility that cloud offers means IT is no longer a bottleneck, but rather an enabler of growth and transformation.
Grant Thomson is cloud business leader, IBM A/NZ