Cloud Computing For The SMB

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Small and medium sized businesses are getting attracted to cloud computing and are considering adopting cloud computing in some form. A survey by researchers at MarketBridge reveals that 44% of respondents had already deployed at least one cloud-based application. In addition, more than 70% of those surveyed planned to move at least one new application to the cloud within six months. This survey was done among 1,000 small to midsized businesses.

So why are smaller companies inclined towards Cloud Computing? In the MarketBridge study, 38% of SMBs said they were looking to the cloud to help support their growing use of mobile devices. They also see cost savings, reliability, and ease to use as prime reasons to move to the cloud.

Key factors that will help SMBs move to Cloud Computing :

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Start Small

According to Tyler Roye, senior executive officer at hosting company mindSHIFT, “Testing and incrementally moving to the cloud seems to be the best way to go. Finding a few things you can do will help you increase your internal confidence in the cloud.” Once companies (and their employees) are familiar with cloud computing and see the benefits it brings, they’re often more willing to expand their use of the cloud.

Where should companies start? Paul Chisholm, mindSHIFT chairman and CEO, notes, “Moving email and general services to the cloud is fairly easy.” Once companies are comfortable with cloud-based email, they can move on to more complex cloud-based applications.

Look Beyond TCO

“It’s fairly well documented that cloud computing reduces your total cost of ownership vs. on-premises options,” observes Robert Israch, director of global demand generation at NetSuite. “However, that is an incomplete picture of how it can enable your business.” Instead, Israch advises SMBs that are considering new cloud services to look at total return on investment to get a better picture.

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When deciding whether to implement or expand their use of the cloud, he recommends that SMBs also factor in “time and money spent upgrading different systems, maintaining hardware and servers, [and] integrating and patching together different business systems, and productivity benefits related to having access to real-time reporting and dashboards and with giving your team anytime, anywhere system access.” By evaluating all of these factors, SMBs can get a better idea of the benefits offered by pilot projects and decide whether to expand cloud computing to additional departments and applications.

Manage The Cultural Adjustment

Sudden change can be scary for employees particularly if they are being asked to give up applications they are familiar with and try something new. According to Google’s Small Business Blog, “Internal communication about the change of service and in-house training sessions will help staff to feel more comfortable using the new technology.”

Small businesses that introduce cloud computing gradually, giving employees time to grow comfortable with new applications and listening to their feedback, find that their cloud computing deployments are more successful.

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