Why Cloud Computing Matters to Small Businesses
- How Cloud-Computing contributes to the growth
1. INTRODUCTION TO CLOUD-COMPUTING
In these intensely competitive business environments, one of the ways to boost business is to invest in the right technologies. As your business grows, whilst remaining successful in evolving markets, you should leverage trending technologies to improve profitability and reduce costs.
One of the most popular and applicable technologies for businesses today is cloud computing technologies. Cloud computing is a term used to define the use of software delivered and hardware over the internet (or any other network). Businesses used to run applications and software downloaded and installed on a physical computer or server established in their building. However, the cloud allows you to do similar tasks (or the same) through the internet.
Cloud computing technology gives its users access to computer system resources such as files, storage, software, and servers via an internet connection; meaning that the primary computing takes place on a machine or servers, often remote (hosted somewhere else) that is not being used currently. These remote servers (or cloud servers) can be accessed from computers, smartphones and other internet-connected devices. It enables them to store and process data in a different location from their end-users (Salesforce, 2022).
On average, SMBs that have been using cloud-based resources grow 26 per cent faster and 21 per cent more profitable than those businesses that do not use cloud services.
Research on how the cloud enables rapid growth in SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses), shows that, on average, SMBs that have been using cloud-based resources grow 26 per cent faster and 21 per cent more profitable than those businesses that do not use cloud services (Deloitte, 2014).
2. BENEFITS CLOUD-COMPUTING IN SMEs
The usage of cloud services enables you to create a platform for tremendous growth capabilities. Every year, several startups wind up due to a lack of creative opportunities to keep running against much larger companies. These businesses struggle to unlock strategies to raise more capital to invest in their new phase of business growth. However, the usage of cloud technologies offers to simplify and streamline operations, which in return will provide you with more resources to invest in growth (Deloitte, 2014).
In this competitive market of opportunities, success hugely relies on the competitive advantages your business holds over your competitors. The implementation of cloud-based technologies and proper use of these tools gives your business immediate access to some of the enterprise-level technologies that you might have found out of reach financially.
With the implementation of cloud technologies, your business will have the advantage of these types of benefits, either effective immediately or in the long run (Deloitte, 2014).
It is the ability to rapidly scale the business capacity and standardization across various locations. Furthermore, since you only need to pay for the services you require, it makes it cost-effective. These cloud services can be scaled up and down easily based on your needs.
The ability to test and trial new products and run upgrades of production much more feasibly. With all the data being stored in the cloud, it makes it easier to make calculations based on the information generated from it.
#2.3 Lower Maintenance
Requirements for maintenance are lower, and integration technologies such as API are simpler. Additionally, cloud servers rely on the fact that new versions of software can be easily tested and deployed in the cloud environment.
Cloud services can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Employees can work from any location and it improves collaboration and sharing. This can be one of the most useful features of cloud computing.
When using cloud servers, the business data is not stored in any transportable hardware or recorded papers, but on remote computers or servers that offer many advanced security features, making it easier to take backups and add layers of security. Furthermore, the software is updated automatically to fix bugs and keep up against the latest threats.
Switching to cloud-based technologies is relatively easier and requires no up-front investment in hardware and software. It provides technical expertise without the need to hire a full-time staff and the likely opportunity to get economies of scale benefits (impact, 2021).
The implementation of cloud service will reshape the workflow of the business. The following can the steps to take when implementing a cloud service (thinkITsolutions, 2022):
a) Make an assessment of your current workflow and the services your company provides.
b) Select the cloud service provider that best fits your requirements and budget.
c) Develop a strategy on how the implementation process will proceed. Experts in advisory services use this strategy how to implement cloud computing:
- Make a business cost and benefits analysis on how to implement cloud services and the impact of implementing it
- Create a roadmap on the process of implementation and data migration
4. HOW THE CLOUD CONTRIBUTES TO BUSINESS GROWTH
Businesses with access to multiple cloud-based tools are much more likely to grow significantly faster than those businesses that do not. Cloud services can be used in various parts of the business to individually enhance capacity and productivity. These include the following areas:
#4.1 Customer proposition
A considerable benefit of cloud computing is its ability to improve customer experience. Imagine your employees attending all the calls, emails and chats from customers. It is tedious work. However, with the implementation of a cloud-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution, businesses can provide their customer base with a seamless omnichannel customer experience. It can eliminate countless communication gaps by using a single platform (Reed, 2022).
Another great cloud-based tool is customer relationship management (CRM) software. It helps businesses to create relationships with customers, make a dataset based on customer attributes, and keep a record of useful details of customers, such as contact information and island. These customer data can be used to generate analytic performance reports and communicate business promotional materials and campaigns (impact, 2021).
#4.2 Business productivity
Implementing cloud services can prevent your business from investing in expensive infrastructure or environment to obtain the same services a cloud-based tool can provide you for a much cheaper price with more security and flexibility.
With tools such as Google Workplace and Office 365, employees can store, and collaboratively edit and update documents making it much easier to connect with colleagues and share information. These improvements lead to more collaboration within your company, which in turn improves outcomes. Furthermore, you can divide on which services you require and opt-out from those you do not, making it more cost-effective which allows for easier growth in return (Reed, 2022).
The cloud tools greatly reduce or remove the operating expenses of a company by managing its own data centre. If a company intends to develop it by themselves, the process of managing data will start to stack up in cost, including various software, server, hardware tools, ICT skills, electricity bills, etc. However, by using cloud services instead, companies can play for all these advancements that they require as they only require it (Reed, 2022).
As most the cloud service infrastructures offer self-managed features and the latest security, this improves the efficiency of the business systems by allowing employees to focus more on other aspects of business activities. The company can become more business-focused than IT-focused.
5. COST BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING
#5.1 Security and privacy
An enormous amount of money can be saved by investing in a high-performance and well-optimized cloud environment. The service providers will take care of the physical security and the IT infrastructure.
#5.2 You pay as you go
The usage cost of cloud services depends on how much of that service is used. In other words, you only pay for what you use. This allows you to scale your company naturally, in alignment with your company’s growth rate and customer needs and demand, rather than paying and maintaining a server by your company. It means that in the long run, you will be saving money.
#5.3 Lower your maintenance costs
It does lower the maintenance cost by handling multiple tasks which would otherwise occupy resources that can be used for other business tasks. As the service maintenance is taken care of by a third party (the cloud service provider), naturally means that there is less hardware and software maintenance to look after by your IT staff. These employees can focus on other aspects of running the business, and the cost of emptying IT staff can be reduced.
#5.4 Resource pooling
Resource pooling is the cloud’s ability to serve multiple clients with multiple servers that utilize many resources with provisional and scalable services. This enables them to streamline the working processes and reduces the overall costs.
The risk of server failovers will be drastically reduced, if not eliminated, as cloud service providers have data centres around different locations/regions. Suppose there was a power outage of one of the data centres due to a tsunami, other data centres will continue to serve without your services getting interrupted. Service interruptions will cost the company both financially and in reputation, especially in sectors such as banking and health.
To keep up with today’s market, the role of cloud services is increasingly important as it provides the latest tools and security, with affordable prices for how much of the service you want to use. One of the keys to a successful business is to keep the expenditure in a range that reflects the company’s size and revenue. By implementing cloud technologies to fulfil business needs instead of building the whole system by yourself, your company can save a lot of money and time and receive much better and more secure tools.
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Available at: https://www.salesforce.com/ca/cloud-computing/
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ThorTech, 2022. The Game-Changing Cost Benefits of Cloud Computing. [Online]
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