Let’s start with some cloud facts:
- 80% of SMB cloud adopters report the cloud enables them to scale and grow faster (Deloitte, “Small Business Big Technology: How the Cloud Enables Rapid Growth in SMBs”, 2014)
- 84% of CIOs report that they have cut application costs by moving to the cloud (IDG, Enterprise Cloud Computing Study, 2014)
- 94% of SMB cloud adopters report security benefits (Rackspace, “State of Cloud in 2015”, 2014)
- 85% of organizations using Google Apps report increased collaboration levels. (BetterCloud, “Trends in Cloud IT: Dissecting Adoption Across Thousands of Organizations”, 2015)
What these stats say is that companies that adopt the cloud grow faster, cut costs, improve security and collaborate more. Now let’s talk about how all these things happen.
With the cloud, you’re never locked into a tool or limited by current capabilities. As your company grows, you can add, change, upgrade or integrate technologies with a few clicks. No, it won’t be perfect from Day 1, but you’ll have the flexibility to add sales management, shipping partners, storage space, or ERP systems without starting from scratch or going through a 2-year transition plan.
The cloud means new technologies and tools are always at your fingertips. You can find and quickly leverage whatever capabilities you need to attack new opportunities.
Inflexible overhead costs can smother a small business, especially during its early years when cash flow isn’t as predictable.
Small businesses can take advantage of cloud options with pricing based on usage or monthly payment options — and often much lower prices than desktop options. You can also avoid the multi-year lock-in that comes from buying hardware and service contracts.
Usage-based pricing means costs grow as your needs do, monthly payments mean predictability and flexibility while lower prices mean lower initial cash outflows (and often getting more for your money).
No security is perfect, but the options available in the cloud trump what you can put together on your own. The best way to improve security is by finding cloud services that reduce the security risks sitting on your shoulders.
Security requirements keep increasing and small businesses are poorly-equipped to keep pace. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. At the same time, well-funded cloud vendors keep making their applications more secure. You can rely on your IT guy, the diligence of your employees, and a hodgepodge of consumer grade products OR you can leverage the computing, brain and market power of companies like Google to keep your files secure.
Good teams become great when they are able to communicate clearly and are empowered to contribute.
With cloud features like real-time editing, mobile apps, and video chat, your team members can share their insights and receive feedback when ideas are fresh and attention is focused. Using the cloud to spur collaboration leads to faster turnaround, clearer communications, and smoother handoffs. With the right cloud collaboration tools, you can do more together and do it better.
Your Cloud Adoption Can Take Any Shape You Want
The cloud offers so many different strategies and solutions that it can be hard to sort them out.But that’s okay. It’s okay because you have the flexibility to test, modify and merge services until you get what you need to succeed. It’s like when kids look at clouds and see different animals, shapes or faces in them. Like that game, the only limit is your imagination.
For small businesses, the opportunity is even greater because it’s the first time in ALL of business history that SMBs can access the same caliber of tools as large enterprises. Cloud solutions offer you big company capabilities at prices fit for small budgets.
When Will You Move to the Cloud?
You may have great reasons for keeping parts of your business hosted on-premise. But we’ve reached a point where the benefits of moving things like file storage, email, and support to the cloud makes sense. The economic case is compelling and the business growth case is emerging quickly. Don’t dive in without doing your research, but remember that fortune often favors the bold.