Cloud computing is now being used by organizations of all kinds and sizes worldwide, from small businesses, large corporations to government organizations. It has quickly evolved from a disruptive technological innovation to a universal phenomenon. And the cloud users continue to grow. In the US alone, the percentage of small businesses using cloud computing is expected to increase from 37% to nearly 80% in 2020. This was according to “Small Business Success in the Cloud,” a study conducted by Emergent Research, a research and consulting firm, and Intuit, a financial software company.
The widespread adoption of cloud computing demonstrates a transformative effect on businesses. The research showed how small enterprises progressively use cloud not only for cost reduction, scalability and efficiency, but also to transform the way they operate to achieve long-term success. As cloud technology offers new opportunities and disruptive changes, small businesses are able to leverage the competition.
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“Small Business Success in the Cloud” reported new cloud capabilities and cited the following types of small businesses that have fully adapted the cloud:
- Plug-In Businesses
These are small businesses that plug into cloud-based service providers that offer comprehensive, customized solutions. This approach allows business operators to focus on more important aspects of the enterprise. Small businesses take advantage of the cloud-based providers’ specialized services so that they can spend their time and effort on more mission-critical aspects.
Hives refer to small businesses that operate virtually, with employees working in different locations. The staffing levels of these companies are flexible, either increasing or decreasing depending on the project demands. Only cloud computing can make this type of business fully operate.
These are cloud-adapted small companies that compete head-to-head with larger organizations. These businesses take advantage of cloud’s capabilities, platforms and services. As such, they are able to reach markets that used to be accessible only to multi-national corporations. An example of this is Airbnb, a community marketplace that empowers individuals to reach a mass market.
Portfolioists, also known as portfolio builders, are cloud-adapted freelancers who have multiple income streams. They use the cloud to efficiently manage their various sources of income and progressively build their “empires” in the cloud as they continue to see opportunities and generate more revenue.
These four personas prove that cloud enables people and companies to start and scale a business in a cheaper and easier way. They also show how cloud technology opens the door to more opportunities for entrepreneurs. With all the changes and transformations happening in the economic landscape, more and more decision-makers are leveraging the cloud to create innovative business models.
Why companies are making the leap to Cloud
Companies adopting cloud computing generate almost twice revenue growth and nearly 2.5 times higher gross profits than organizations that are not embracing the said platform. These statistics were revealed in a 2013 IBM study called “Under Cloud Cover: How Leaders are Accelerating Competitive Differentiation.”
Cloud computing has become a powerful tool in leveraging tech innovation. It continues to gain popularity among companies across the globe. Cloud solution does not only save time and money; it also offers flexibility and scalability.
Here are seven main reasons why companies are leaping to the cloud:
- Valuable niche cloud-based services
The availability of niche cloud-based services allows companies to focus on achieving their business goals while leaving the less critical aspects of the business to experts. Cloud solutions, such as payroll and cash flow management, improve productivity and help the business move forward.
- Unparalleled global connection
Cloud computing is a powerful technology that connects suppliers, employees and customers from anywhere in the world. This attribute is especially helpful for businesses that are growing their presence globally. Cloud services offer the flexibility and access for people to work anywhere, anytime.
- Enhanced project management
Another benefit of cloud technology is its ability to improve facilitation and workflow of project management. This feature allows employees and companies to efficiently manage more projects at the same time, thereby improving overall productivity.
- Faster access to sophisticated technology
Cloud computing enables organizations to use modern technologies, such as mobile and social collaboration tools and Big Data & analytic resources. These help companies achieve their business objectives with remarkable speed and agility.
- Better analytical insights
The cloud is a powerful and sophisticated technology that can process a huge amount of data coming from various sources, like cloud applications, in-house applications, and third party databases. As such, organizations can generate actionable analytical insights from the ever-increasing collected data. Cloud computing allows companies to deploy these analytical tools so that decision-makers can get actionable insights and establish a competitive advantage.
- Simpler collaboration
Since cloud solutions are designed for secure remote access, organizations can let third parties, such as suppliers, contractors, and customers, to access internal IT resources. Cloud allows companies to easily collaborate with relevant third parties without having to worry about exposing the data center to unauthorized entries.
- Improved security and business continuity
Cloud data centers are located in facilities that are equipped with better physical security, making it more secure than most on-premises data centers. Cloud providers also mirror their environments across multiple locations. This feature helps ensure uptime and makes the cloud more resilient in the event of a disaster.
Competitive advantage is through the Cloud
Cloud is an essential element in this technology-enabled environment. Cloud computing is now mainstream and is transforming the business landscape. More than just its cost-effective and scalable features, cloud computing allows users to achieve competitive advantages by transforming how the enterprises operate and how they deliver value to their customers.
Interestingly, about 80% of businesses are expected to embrace cloud computing over the next four years, according to Emergent Research and Intuit Inc. Entrepreneurs who don’t adopt the cloud and accelerate their competitive differentiation risk falling behind the competition.
Photo courtesy of Stefano Fulgoni.