Professional business consultancy KPMG has said that small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are “largely responsible” for much of the growth in the cloud computing industry. KPMG is definite about the impact of the SMB cloud and so reports that the industry in 2012 is set to see an additional US2.2 billion in the UK alone.
So why does cloud work for SMB?
There are many reasons why cloud computing works well in the small business sector, but the most important reasons are the most obvious ones.
Small to medium sized businesses are typically new and busy forming partnerships, merging with other firms and generally still growing. This makes them perfect candidates for so-called ‘cutting edge’ technology frameworks like cloud that might be a harder “fit” in older more established larger enterprises.
This inherent “dynamism and momentum” among SMBs carries further relevance for the cloud computing model.
While smaller firms are in an unpredictable development period trying to refine and sharpen their business model to secure the success of their products and services, uncertainty abounds. Cloud computing is supplied as an ‘on demand’ service so data storage and software application power can be turned upwards when needed, but also turned down in leaner times.
Any new business in a period of start up over its first half decade will find capital expenditure (CapEx) outlay a special challenge; the monies are simply not there to drive back into the firm. Focusing instead on operational expenditure (OpEx) costs that can quickly be ascribed to profits has fundamental importance at this time. Cloud computing’s Software-as-a-Service model does not require the same investment in physical IT hardware as the traditional model so the benefits here are more OpEx focused from the start.
Small to medium sized businesses also benefit from the wider benefits of cloud computing that come with the online model. Workers are able to work on documents and data concurrently in a connected online way (from any Internet-connected device) and this means that productivity can potentially be increased.
As different as some of this may sound, cloud computing is really just an opportunity to connect to IT services delivered over an online connection. At this point it is worth noting that data security, governance and/or compliance issues and disaster recovery and/or backup should all be observed and adopted in full.
The cloud is not designed specifically for the small to medium sized business sector any more than it is designed specifically for the large-scale enterprise sector but it’s the smaller businesses that can really maximise the benefits the cloud has to offer.