Driving SME Growth with Cloud

The “move to the cloud” continues to be a top-trending technology topic for enterprise-sized organizations. But don't let the hype mislead you into believing cloud deployment is just for large businesses. In Singapore for example, cloud adoption by small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been growing exponentially – projected to reach a compound annual growth rate of 21% and hit S$916 million in 20171.

Many of the early cloud adapters among SMEs have been trumpeting the proven benefits of their implementation. A survey by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (formerly known as Infocomm Development Authority) indicates that 67% of SMEs with cloud deployments reduced operating costs; 57% found that they required less manpower; 42% increased their revenue; and 70% achieved their ROI (return on investment) within a year of implementation.

This underscores the growing realization that if you are an SME, you have even more to gain from cloud deployment. Conversely, you run a real risk of missing out by not going to the cloud.

Unlike their enterprise-sized counterparts, SMEs are constrained by a smaller budget and less manpower. Therefore, saving time and money is even more critical to their overall success. By moving to the cloud, SMEs are almost guaranteed to save both time and money. They won't have to worry about maintaining systems, solutions or hardware. All they have to do is pick the right cloud provider and all that will be taken care of. But that's not where the benefi ts end. Here are five ways cloud deployment can help SMEs be more agile and prepared for growth.

1. Pay as you go

Cloud deployment requires minimal up front spending on hardware and software. Plus, you only pay for the capacity you use, which eliminates the need to cover the costs of expensive hardware for your on-premise data storage and management. This means that you're spending less on technology infrastructure, so you'll have more money available to invest in your company's growth.

2. IT on tap

Cloud frees up valuable IT resources, allowing a company’s IT team to focus on mission critical tasks that facilitate growth for business – instead of spending their entire day on updating servers, replacing hardware, and managing software updates. In this scenario, the cloud vendor becomes the company’s IT partner – an extension of its business that essentially expands its scope without the need to hire additional internal staff.

3. Economies of scale

Moving to a cloud-based solution promises the benefits of economies of scale. Multiple users can access cloud-based resources at the same time, so individual productivity is enhanced, and you'll be able to do more with a lower headcount. The auto-scaling functionality within the cloud allows users to identify anticipated changes in user demand to secure the required hardware and software – right when you need it, and not a moment sooner or later. As a result, you'll be able to get new acquisitions, regions, or countries up and running quickly and cost-effectively.

4. Mobility

The technology advances that cloud computing brings probably have the biggest impact on your business. To do business in a cloud-based environment, all you need is access to the Internet. You can work no matter where you are or what device you are on. This mobility allows the leaders in your organization to make mission-critical decisions on the fly and in real time based on real-time data. Likewise, your workforce will have the mobile tools they need to collaborate with their colleagues across regions and even countries, making them more efficient and productive.

5. Ease of use

Cloud delivers total ease of use. As you'll have fewer upgrades to manage, you won't have to concern yourself with hardware or software glitches. Your cloud provider will handle all of that, so you'll be able to focus on what matters most – realizing a faster time-to-market and ultimately growing your business. The benefits of flexibility, scalability, and agility inherent in cloud-based solutions are undeniable, especially for an SME. Cloud deployments allow SMEs to pay for what they use; dial-up or down easily to meet either increased or decreased demand; reduce technology overhead; empower a more productive workforce; and ultimately maintain a level of competiveness that can't be achieved with conventional on-premise IT. Early cloud implementers, among big and small enterprises alike, have been sharing proven benefits they’ve reaped out of their cloud implementations. If you’re still watching on the sidelines, it’s time to consider cloud seriously – and jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late to catch up with your competitors.

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- Helen Masters, Vice President & Managing Director, South Asia - ANZ & ASEAN, at Infor -