Cloud – A new ray of hope for SMBs

An SMB insurance company quadrupled in size within a year by using cloud software to grow quickly and service customer needs more effectively. Twelve months after launching their business, they took the decision to move their contact centre in-house, and set up its sales team with cloud-based contact centre technology.

The decision to deploy a cloud-based platform was made on the usage-based pricing model, which involved minimal upfront costs and additional features such as reporting, voice recording and the ability to make real time changes to the system within minutes in response to the customer activity.

Several similar user cases across the world can demonstrate the prominence of this new and inexpensive delivery model – Cloud computing, thereby causing a rapid shift towards adoption among businesses including SMBs.

SMBs generally look for low cost of operations, fast implementation, quick return on investment and long-term investment measures. Operational excellence is the utmost need of SMEs in the current scenario where every enterprise is undergoing a fierce competition to sustain.

Cloud, with its value proposition of scalability and low cost enterprise class solutions with limited overheads, is transforming the consumption patterns of SMBs. Majority of them are now looking towards the cloud to service/automate their business processes.

Cloud is enabling SMBs to challenge the market dominance of big businesses. Groupon for example, with a user-base of more than 35 million in less than 3 years has grown rapidly with a minimal asset base using Salesforce.com and Amazon offerings.

SMBs generally operate in a very flexible work environment. The nature of their business demands flexible cost structures, flexible staff and flexible IT solutions. Some SMBs may not even have fixed work spaces and their employees handle multiple roles and spend their time constantly on the move. Cloud computing gives them a wealth of choices they have never enjoyed before.

Cloud applications like Office 365 help mobile workers get work done on corporate networks from any location utilizing any device, including smartphones, PCs and tablets.

Cloud is now bringing more and more non users such as SMBs into the fold. The major drivers to cloud adoption are:

  • Real-time provisioning and scalability on-demand enables SMBs to grow IT resources mirroring firm growth
  • Pay-per-use models would enables SMBs to access enterprise class solutions
  • IT Management responsibility resides with the cloud service provider requiring only a skeletal IT team interface
  • Upgrades managed by cloud providers suits SMBs needs

With cloud services, smaller businesses can enjoy the benefits of lean physical infrastructure e.g., file and e-mail servers, storage systems or data warehouses. In fact, it is needless to mention that a lot of today’s small business technology needs can be fulfilled almost completely with cloud-based offerings through a single connecting device.

The small business market is expanding but it is still at an early stage. There is an utmost need for flexibility in deployment and scaling up as business evolves. At the same time, technology vendors must ensure they have all the necessary solutions, capable of enabling more effective use of cloud based services by SMBs.

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