Last evening I was having dinner with friends and the table got very quiet when one man asked me ‘What’s the cloud and why do I need it?” ( I being the resident geek). Now this gentlemen is a professional engineer operating a company of over 50 employees. The people at dinner are professionals, business owners, educators and a head of a not-for-profit organization and yet they all turned, waiting for a response.
Odd question, since every one of them are using some form of cloud based services in their personal and business lives. For whatever reason, they just hadn’t associated what they were actually using with the phrase ‘cloud computing’. And they still were questioning how the cloud would improve their business.
So what are 5 most compelling reasons to be considering using the Cloud for your Small and Medium Business (SMB)?
Starting with the first three, an article in the Citrix Blog took a look at some industry statistics for the SMB, published by MarketBridge, a leading Sales & Marketing Research firm quoted by CRN in a recent article.
The numbers show that:
- 80% of SMBs currently use the Cloud for Application delivery and the companies with 10% growth or higher in 2010 were twice as likely to move infrastructure AND software to the Cloud.
- 38% believed Mobility was a reason to move to the Cloud. This hasn’t been spoken of much in the Press but ‘service ubiquity’ is a part of this reality. In other words, SMBs want to use their applications wherever and whenever they need them… AND don’t want to be constrained by ‘brick-and-mortar’ facilities to do their business.
- Last and maybe surprisingly for some, 48% of the SMBs surveyed said they believe their data security is “better” in the Cloud.
Yet, listening to our customers talking about their reasons for seeking us out as they migrate their business to cloud based services, there are two additional compelling reasons: accessibility and simplicity.
This winter has seen serious disruptions due to weather- from the massive floods in Australia to snow storms as far south as Dallas. Living in South Florida we have grown accustomed to days, and on occasion, weeks without power which means, days and on occasion, weeks of interrupted business; those servers in your office don’t work without power. The year when we were hit with 7 hurricanes in one year, I was involved with a start-up and all our work was cloud based. The day after every storm we were back at work just by locating our Verizon signals. My neighbors law firm with all their offices and IT people, was out of commission. And today, years later, clients and customers expect no less and if your business isn’t available, they will go elsewhere.
A small business owner wouldn’t return to the days of the land-line phone. Cloud computing allows a business, any type or size, to work the same way we communicate: from anywhere, at anytime.
Now this may seem to be an oxymoron. Not many associate technology with simplicity, but cloud based apps really are simpler to use. I would venture to bet that most of you reading this blog use web based email (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL), use online banking, buy your tickets from Fandango and buy your plane tickets from Expedia. You didn’t have to download software, check to see if these tools were PC or MAC compatible or if they worked on Firefox or IE. I shudder to recall the angst we went through every time Microsoft ‘upgraded’ (Vista anyone?). Some of our programs stopped working and most stopped talking to each other and we had our IT people on speed-dial.
Cloud services just work. On any PC, MAC or any web enabled device. Whether you use Firefox, IE or Chrome. From your office, your house , your hotel room or your daughter’s dance recital. Running your knowledge-base, calendar, tasks or all the apps you need to run your business should be as easy as buying tickets to the movies.
I bet my dinner partners that they would save enough from the cloud to pick up the tab next time.