Top tips for SMEs that want to join the cloud revolution
The benefits of the cloud for businesses are becoming clearer, but where should Middle East SMEs start when...
In a world where the customer is king and digital transformation is the name of the game, any productivity and efficiency gains an organisation can make become vital. Cloud computing is fast becoming one of the key methods to achieve this, offering firms a cost-effective way to streamline processes and increase staff output.
According to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Survey firms run 79 per cent of their workloads in the cloud, a figure which increases to 83 per cent for SMEs. In fact, the benefits for SMEs are in many ways even more pronounced than those reaped by their larger rivals. That’s because the cloud effectively levels the playing field, allowing smaller firms to benefit from the kind of software and services they would not have been able to afford to maintain in-house.
According to the European Commission, cloud computing “is one of the strategic digital technologies considered important enablers for productivity and better services.” Enterprises use it both to “optimise resource utilisation and build business models and market strategies that will enable them to grow, innovate and become more competitive.”
It’s not just about making money, however, as the NHS has proven. Making healthcare professionals more productive can actually help to save lives.
So, let’s take a closer look at what those key cloud computing benefits are.
– The IT department will run more efficiently, because you will have outsourced the heavy lifting to a third-party provider.
– Collaboration is made easier and more effective through cloud apps. Sync and share tools enable teams to work remotely and securely from the same version of documents – a much more efficient process than using email.
– More choice, from ERP to CRM, accounting software and Office tools, cloud computing opens up a whole new world of productivity-enhancing apps.
– IT efficiency and cost-effectiveness are enhanced because you can scale computing resources up or down according to demand.
– Staff can work anywhere, anytime from any device, boosting productivity and creating a more pleasant, flexible working environment. Happier workers tend to be more productive.
– Finally get to grips with big data because cloud computing gives organisations the tools and computing power they need to analyse huge sets of data, driving growth, innovation and new services.
While cloud computing can generate these undoubted benefits, it’s not a silver bullet for firms struggling to drive efficiency and productivity. Draw up a clear list of requirements, conduct comprehensive due diligence on providers and ensure that any solution you choose meets internationally accepted information security standards. Remember, as transformative as cloud computing can be, it also introduces additional data governance and security challenges that you’ll need to manage.
That said, if you approach any new cloud project in a controlled, rigorous manner, you could soon be well on your way to achieving some great results.