Why Small Businesses Should Look to the Cloud

A growing number of small businesses are investing in cloud computing, but many are still hesitant. Here’s how to turn that tide and quell any fear of the cloud.>

Daniel Newman

A growing number of small businesses are investing in cloud computing and most of them are reaping the benefits. However, many companies are still hesitant to make the move, and others are jumping on the cloud bandwagon only to realize they aren’t enjoying all the advantages others rave about.

Why? Because they don’t understand the cloud.

Though the cloud has attained a sort of cult status today, and seemingly everyone’s talking about it, people are still confused when it comes to the real meaning of cloud. Business Insider reported a recent survey by Citrix that revealed more than 50 percent of respondents believe the cloud is affected by bad weather. You get the picture.

Like most innovative technology, the cloud comes with its fair share of myths. For businesses to truly benefit from it, they need to cut through the rumors and half-truths. How to do that? The first step is to make the cloud simple to understand.

Simplify the Cloud for Small Businesses

In the Citrix survey, more than half of those polled said they’ve never used the cloud, yet 95 percent of them actually do in some form, though unwittingly. Going on social networking sites, shopping, gaming or watching videos online, storing and sharing music and files—all of these actions are cloud-based.

Related: 5 Misconceptions of Cloud-Based Security Installations

Most people don’t have the faintest idea that a large share of their online activities are, very often, cloud based. When the concept of cloud is simplified, business owners will stop seeing it as such a mysterious thing. Instead, once they realize it’s something with which they’re already familiar, they’ll be a lot more confident in using the cloud for their businesses. 

Where Does the Cloud Fit?

We need to think about the cloud and determine which roles it will fill in the organization. Will it be used for CRM, accounting, project management, collaboration, or all of the above? Once we figure that out, it is easier to see its value. But, at the same time it’s important to understand that using the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

The decision on whether to move all of your business processes, or just a few, to the cloud depends on the organization’s needs and demands. For instance, if you’ve invested in collaboration infrastructure, it doesn’t make sense to shift it entirely to the cloud. Plus, cloud apps are great, but if your custom software is taking care of your needs, there’s no reason to give that up in favor of something cloud based.

Understand Cloud Integration

To successfully integrate with the cloud, we need to look at how all the tools and applications—the ones in the cloud and the systems you maintain on premise—tie together. Can your CRM and project management systems communicate? How does the collaboration suite work with open tools like Skype or Google?

Related: How to Pick a Cloud Solution for Your Clients

Small companies tend to run lean and mean, and putting cloud tools together in an easy to understand way helps them understand the technology better. Plus, integration can be tricky. The cloud vendor’s demo may seem very promising and you may not see any gaps until you start using it. Vendors run systems in a very controlled environment where everything works perfectly, so you need to take that into consideration. It’s always best to look at cloud integration through the lens of your own business model.

More Awareness and Education on the Cloud

Another critical factor to get SMBs to embrace the cloud is to up their level of education. As we’ve seen, most companies are still very confused about the technology.

In fact, the industry has done a much better job of marketing the concept then they have in educating people as to what the cloud really is. By explaining how it works and exploring issues like cloud usage and safety in simpler terms, we can remove the resistance that some businesses have and get them moving in the right direction.

Information and education not only guarantees more businesses will use the cloud in their daily processes, but it also shows how investing in the technology will propel them into the future. SMBs need to see all there is to gain in productivity and efficiency before they decide to take the plunge into the cloud.

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About the Author


I am a principal analyst of Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. I spend my time researching, analyzing and providing the world’s best and brightest companies with insights as to how digital transformation, disruption, innovation and the experience economy are changing how business is done. Bringing together the technology layer with the human layer, I seek to solve the biggest challenges that companies have today; how to grow, scale, change and adapt to a world where technology and media shift at breakneck speed. So what does this mean? It means that I spend my life learning about what drives people to adopt new technology so I can share those secrets with companies that are ready to take their business to the next level. From keynoting on the world’s largest stages to weekly insights on Forbes, MarketWatch and our owned media properties, my goal is to provide our clients with what they need to know to out innovate and turn disruption from threat, into a business model for success.

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