The concept of the cloud is no longer new as businesses large and small begin to take advantage of the cost-savings and increased convenience of cloud storage, communication and computing. But according to a new report from Forbes, it’s the small business community that stands to gain the most from the cloud migration.
In interviews with leading technology firms, Forbes explored the benefits of the cloud that SMEs today simply cannot afford to miss. Most notably, of course, are the cost savings. But as employees become more mobile and the business force becomes more fragmented, it is more difficult for small businesses to bridge these location gaps.
“The communication end-points are changing,” Vlad Shmunis, CEO and chairman of cloud services firm RingCentral, told Forbes, “with the bulky desktop PCs being eliminated in favor of smaller and cheaper notebooks and tablets.” Analysts, Shmunis said, anticipate the cloud computing industry to reach a $75 billion value.
Historically, smaller businesses have struggled to affordably establish the infrastructure and IT workforce necessary for on-site data storage and analysis. The cloud, however, allows SMEs to bypass these expenses, and major corporations like Microsoft and Oracle are providing business owners with more accessible, affordable tools – like SaaS – providing significant savings to small businesses, Shmunis said.
Still another way SMEs can take advantage of the cloud without taking on the cost is through the rise of unified communications, Shmunis added, as services emerge that provide an end-to-end suite of communications services including Internet, mobile, landline, video conferencing, audio, data sharing, text, email and more – everything a company needs to conduct communication within and outside of the enterprise.
The developers of these cloud-based solutions often target SMEs specifically, acknowledging their need to cost savings and their inability to establish their own in-house solutions. For example, Revert is targeting smaller businesses for cloud security. SAP, the leading software provider for enterprises, similarly just launched its new SAP Anywhere SaaS solution aimed squarely at SMEs in China.