Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are the backbone of any country’s economy. They provide job opportunities and serve as an engine for growth and innovation. Most of today’s multi-billion dollar businesses had humble beginnings. There can be multiple criteria that we can use to classify a business as small, medium or large. It can include factors such as capital, revenue, employees or scale of operations. One thing is for sure though, any small business has to make the best use of its limited resources. Commonly employed in large enterprises, SMEs also have joined the trend by adopting the cloud technology which makes operations more mobile and accessible for their team. The SME migration to cloud computation is being accelerated by different vendors who are offering support for diversified business needs.
Technology for MSMEs: With Industry 4.0 taking a firm grip on global commerce, adaptation within the SME sector is not far behind. Enterprises are undergoing paradigm shifts in operations, employing new technologies, and as a result, how they are doing business. Cloud computation is one such means which is fast heralding the digitization of industries the world over. Commonly employed in large organizations, SMEs also have joined the bandwagon by adopting the cloud technology which makes operations more mobile and accessible for a team. Not only does it win points on easy adaptability, but also on product versatility. The three main cloud service offerings of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), make operations extremely easy as all they need is internet access and are ready to be used across a range of mediums like laptops, smartphones, tablets etc.
Flexible Access: Once a unique user has been created on the cloud network, the employee can access the cloud using multiple device platforms and locations. The common examples of these platforms are smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops. Further, an employee can access the work from the office, home or while on the move.
This flexibility can greatly enhance the productivity and motivation level of an employee. By using the cloud, small entities can even hire mobile or remote workers that would be willing to work at a much lesser wage as compared to a regular employee who needs to come up to work each day.
Ease of CollaborationToday’s workforce is quite diverse and at times, physically dispersed as well. As the data is centrally maintained in any cloud solution, the physical distance does not hamper efficiency. This is particularly helpful in work scenarios such as projects, where a task or process has to be accomplished by a small group of employees and real-time collaboration is required.
When the data is housed over the cloud network, each employee can take over the task, right from where the preceding employee left it. This enhances collaboration and coordination between employees that can be an asset for a small entity with a limited number of skilled workers.
Democratising Enterprises : Cloud technology has been a great equalizer in the accessibility of data. Now instead of offline storage kept under lock and key and access subject to availability of person storing data, it is available to all relevant stakeholders at any given point in time and at any place. SMEs are increasingly shifting to more and more features available on the cloud, from HRMS systems to CRM, accounting, salesforce automation and even design. Other than simplifying collaboration and teamwork, cloud computation also reduces the cost of operations for the often cash strapped SMEs by offering SaaS applications which are available to SMEs on the go and without any massive investment costs at their end. Moreover, these are highly customizable applications which can be modified as per one’s requirements, from the number of users to the features available, these applications can be maximized and upgraded along with the growing needs of the company. This allows an SME to turn its CAPEX into OPEX by paying nominal amounts for reaping the massive dividends of cloud technology.
Privacy Concerns : A major concern looming over the enterprises who utilize cloud technology is that their information is easily vulnerable to malicious hacks and that their privacy will be compromised. Such incidents may include data breach, hijacking of accounts, malware injections, and data loss among others. It is highly suggested to all those who avail cloud services to trust noted and established names when selecting a service provider, and be sure to maintain due diligence as provision and maintenance of security and privacy is the shared responsibility of the service provider and the customer. Many enterprises also engage in the services of cloud security experts and software to safeguard their data. The basic key to securing data on the cloud is to ensure proper authorization for logins and access, monitor user activity closely and maintain a data backup and recovery account. Security is offered in layers with service providers so be sure to select the specification which best serves your needs.
Improved Security : The good thing about a cloud solution is that all the data is maintained at a central location, whether in house or with a CSP. It is administratively much more convenient to secure a centralized database from cyber threats as compared to data that is stored sporadically across many devices.
Another advantage of a cloud solution is that if an individual device used to login to the cloud network is lost or stolen, the data will remain safe from unauthorized use. The only security precaution will be that the employee concerned will change the password that was used to gain access to the cloud network.
Maximizing Value :The SME migration to cloud computation is being accelerated by vendors who are offering support for diverse business needs. These products include front and back-office software like CRM solutions. There are software development companies that provide SMEs with specific solutions that are built from scratch and are tailored to the individual SME’s specific business needs. Vendors on the cloud are creating platforms which serve as a marketplace for SaaS and IaaS applications. SME owners discover, compare, and buy software for various applications on a pay-per-use model, thus economizing a value offering. Cloud also offers telephonic systems and voice services that SMEs can avail, which can lend a large business feel to the small scale businesses through digital voice services like voice mail, conference calling, video conferencing, voice messaging etc. These services can help SMEs save the cost of employing a round-the-clock operator. This infrastructure will ease communication both within and outside the organization and give a single location experience to people located in different geographies.
Reduction in Cost : The nature of cost reduction will vary, depending on whether your solution is on-premises or outsourced. The cost related benefits for each are explained below.
On Premises / In House: If the solution is deployed on premises, the company only needs to invest in a powerful server.The rest of its IT hardware does not need to be upgraded regularly, thus saving costs.The company can allow a large number of employees access to its cloud network with no extra cost.
Outsourced / Cloud Service Provider: In case a CSP is engaged, all the related hardware is the sole responsibility of the service provider.The existing computers of the company need not be updated as the resources of the CSP will be used. Companies can create additional users on the cloud network, just by paying a nominal usage fee.
Sparkling Lining : Cloud computation offers innumerable benefits for SMEs. Data, when stored in hardware, is susceptible to threats like humidity, damage in natural calamities, theft, and hardware redundancy. Cloud backups suffer none of these and resolve several SME concerns like adaptability, economic viability and business dexterity. Once you have managed to configure your business suite in the cloud, an SME can enjoy the perks of doing seamless business from different locations. This also serves the best of SMEs economic interests as there is no investment in lengthy planned expenses and the pay-as-you-go model proves to be extremely cost-efficient in the long run.
Efficiency : Whether in house or outsourced, the servers used to centrally store the data are quite superior in performance. Secondly, all the productivity related applications and software also run over the cloud network. So even if the devices of a small business are somewhat obsolete, the overall efficiency will remain unaffected. Employee productivity extends beyond the physical boundaries of the workplace.
Flexibility : Cloud solutions are highly flexible from the perspective of both the small business and its employees. As the company hires additional workforce, it won’t have to purchase additional personal computers. Rather, a new unique user will be created for each new employee and they are good to go.
The benefits of a cloud’s flexibility also extend to employees of the small business. They don’t have to worry about the device they are using to access the cloud network. The only thing required is correct login credentials. Moreover, an employee can remain productive even without turning up to the workplace in person.
Scalability : Typically, if a small business plans to increase its operations, it will have to procure additional IT hardware to support the new staff. In the event of a downsizing, all the capital expenditures incurred to procure the additional hardware will be rendered fruitless.
On the contrary, it is much quicker and cost effective to scale up or down over a cloud solution. To scale up, the IT department will simply create new users over the cloud network. Similarly, when an employee leaves the organization, the user will simply be removed or deleted from the cloud, after securing the data.
If the cloud solution is outsourced to a CSP, the only cost of up scaling will be an additional fee for each new user. Similarly, if a small business wants to avail a new productivity software from the CSP, it can be commissioned within a few minutes, just by paying a nominal usage fee.
Compatibility : Whether in house or outsourced, all the data and applications are maintained at a central location. Any update, security or performance related patch will have to be installed at a single location. Its effect will automatically transpire to each and every existing and new user.
In case of a conventional infrastructure, each individual machine of the small business will have to be updated individually. This will not only raise concerns regarding poor compatibility, the small business will have to maintain an army of full time IT technicians to take care of these recurring and trivial tasks.
Remote Work : One of the main competitive advantages of SMBs is cost related efficiencies. Due to their limited resources, most small to medium sized businesses are always on the lookout to save costs. A reliable cloud computing solution such as dinHVD can serve as a seamless remote work platform for your employees.
Whether remote work is voluntary or due to unforeseen circumstances, it can result in cost savings for SMBs. With the entire or majority of your employees working remotely via the Cloud, you can save a host of business overheads such as rent, utilities and similar administrative expenses, improving your viability.
Business Continuity : Unlike large enterprises that have deep pockets and ample capacity to absorb shocks, SMBs are very susceptible to factors that can potentially affect smooth functioning. Cloud computing provides unrivaled Business Continuity (BC) to SMBs at a fraction of the costs of developing such mechanisms on premise.
Whether its disruption that’s caused by natural or man-made events, your small business is quite likely to remain immune from its effects, primarily because of Cloud Computing. With Disaster Recovery (DR) built into the cloud service, your small or medium business enjoys strong BC in the wake of crises.
To provide MSMEs with a competitive edge through the use of Information and Communication Technologies, the MSME Ministry disburses a subsidy up to Rs 1 lakh for micro and small enterprises to encourage them to use cloud computing for information and communications technology applications under the “Digital MSME” Scheme.
No two companies that offer cloud computing services are equal. You need to consider a few variables across the industry to choose the right Cloud Service Provider (CSP) for your small or medium business. Let’s touch on a few advantages of cloud based solutions that are offered by various CSPs.
- A wide range of cloud based solutions, with plenty of options for small and medium sized businesses.
- Highly customizable cloud solutions that can be tailored to the needs of any SME on a very short notice.
- State of the art data centers that comply with industry leading physical and cyber security controls.
- Multi-layered security protocols to ensure maximum security of your data.* Dedicated virtual servers to provide each small business with a seamless cloud experience.
- Businesses can manage scalability and other aspects of their solution using CSPs proprietary cloud management portal.
- Highly cost effective and transparently priced solutions in which you are billed on a “Pay as You Use” basis.
When choosing a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) for your SMB, the list of cloud computing companies could be quite long. However, this does not imply that each CSP would be suited to the needs of your SMB by default. You have to choose the CSP wisely so that the move to Cloud yields the desired results.
For a small to medium sized business, it is not always feasible to set up cloud servers for business on premises. On the other hand, cloud computing provides cloud based solutions for business entities, regardless of their size or industry in which they operate.
By now, if you manage a small business, you would certainly be compelled to leverage the benefits of a cloud solution. Why get into the hassle of deploying an on-premise cloud solution when CSP partners can take care of all your business needs.
Just take a look at your current infrastructure and determine what changes need to be made to get ready for transformation. Most importantly, first you choose the most optimal cloud solution Partner (www.intersourcesinc.com) for your small or medium sized business.