Given the evolution of Cloud Computing Technologies, many people have said that there is not even a choice for businesses to move their IT infrastructure to this model. But what most sources only think about big businesses when they draw this situation.
Yes, cloud computing undoubtedly brings many benefits to any company, but it can be hard for small and medium businesses to implement a CC model. Be that for small budgets or lack of specialized staff, or even because they never considered this option, many companies are still using the traditional computing model.
A recent study has shown that 78% of small businesses will have adapted cloud computing by 2020. Also, a report by IDC predicted that small business would face an increasing on cloud expenses by nearly 20% in the next five years. This can show some changes in reality.
As long as businesses get to know the advantages and conclude that they are worth the change, this reality will continue to be true.
For this reason we decided to talk about the advantages and obstacles SMB face when moving their IT infrastructure to cloud computing.
Advantages of Cloud Computing By Small and Medium Size Businesses:
This is on the top of the list of benefits that cloud computing can bring to SMBs. Because it reduces a lot of power and hardware consumption, IT requirements, and many other aspects of an IT infrastructure, cloud computing will consequently reduce many costs.
The implementation of cloud computing also transfers a lot of work to the on-site model delivery. This way, clients can also have access to lots of time-saving solutions that will also reduce the costs of a company.
The cloud computing model allows greater integration with most functionalities of a small business. That means companies can integrate, for example, customer relationship management (CRM), Enterprise Resource planning (ERP), Project Management (PM), and many other sales, marketing and accounting applications to the cloud.
This will also reduce costs, because the cloud computing model allows a “pay-as-you-grow” billing model, in which you only pay for what you use.
Improved workplace Collaboration
Collaborative computing can increase productivity and helps businesses do what they do better. This also works for cloud computing, because it allows people to work at the same time in the same document. They can do this editing and saving the files in real time. Plus: if there is an energy break, it is more assured the company will not lose the progress.
Not to mention the geographic barrier it excludes. People can work basically from any place that has internet connection.
When it comes to hardware and software, cloud computing brings a lot of flexibility. As we have just mentioned, it is easier to manage resources and progress from any place with internet access. With that, companies can focus less in IT infrastructure and give more attention to other areas of their businesses.
Improved competitive advantage
Cloud computing gives small businesses access to technologies used only in the big companies’ world. With the pay-as-you-grow model and cloud business applications SMBs can run together with big enterprises, disrupting the market.
Reduced carbon footprint – CCT
There is a lot of studies pointing that cloud computing data centers produce 95% less carbon if compared to on premise data centers. By moving to the cloud, small businesses also reduce their carbon emission and become a greener business than when based on on premise computing.
Obstacles SMB face when moving to Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing will bring many benefits to a small or medium business. However, there are some limitations businesses should take into account when adopting cloud computing.
Lack of sufficient resources
One of the top challenges when adopting the cloud is that often there is little expertise for rapidly moving IT infrastructure. Also, it is not common for small businesses to have an Information Technology Department.
That can be tricky, especially when it comes to decision making and resources management.
Lack of time to implement new initiatives
In the same scenario as we have seen above, small companies usually have little time to implement new technologies. Also, they don’t want to find time for this kind of changes. Be that for budget reasons or just lack of knowledge.
Costs are another burden for small businesses to implement cloud computing. That’s because the costs can increase very rapidly, and large files can increase the upload time and other resources.
This wouldn’t be a big problem for bigger companies, but budget does speak louder in many cases. Not to mention that budget is a heavy component for decision making.
Security/ Data control
The same lack of knowledge that leads to insufficient time and resources can also take to security issues. It is true that rapidly moving to the cloud would require certain adaptation in the security measures of a company.
The cloud is based on the internet and there will be a lot of data stored online. Cyberattacks do exist and can be a challenge to small businesses.
Common uses of cloud technology in SMBs:
If you are wondering about the uses of cloud technologies for small businesses, here is a list we found in a paper:
- Office tools
- Web/E-commerce. e-mail
- Financial and accounting
- Help desk and IT support and security
- Sales automation software
- Operations and HR services
- Project and product management
- Backup and recovery
- Collaboration and communication solutions
- Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
It is true that moving to the cloud is a big step and represents lots of changes for a business environment. Actually, it is everyday more urgent that companies adopt CCT and fortunately there are very good and secure options available for cloud providing.
If you’re still in doubt about that, why not reading a little bit more about the advantages of cloud computing?