Cloud Computing Wins for the Small Enterprises
Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like the electricity grid. Small enterprises are often the pioneers of new disruptive technologies. Cloud computing is no different.
Some of the reasons why small enterprises want and are able to try emerging cloud services include: -Significantly lower costs of entry, higher risk tolerance within the enterprise, Flexibility and agility of service.
Small enterprises are in a unique position to take advantage of the cloud before it takes a firm hold on the marketplace at large. Just be aware of where the real savings and benefits are to be found. Small enterprises have traditionally been first to take advantage of disruptive technologies that provide good enough service at significantly lower upfront cost than the traditional dominant technologies. Cloud services offer this kind of opportunity. For those evaluating and deploying cloud services, the opportunity to save on infrastructure costs and to deploy applications rapidly were the two highest ranked issues in terms of positively influencing the decision to deploy. Lower upfront costs are attractive particularly if the small enterprises simply cannot afford the costs of the dominant solution. With distributed processing, for example, small enterprises could afford industry standard PCs and network servers but not mainframes. Lower cost barriers and rapid and flexible deployment mean: It can be done, and it can be done faster.
Feeling Positive about Security
Info-Tech has found that small enterprises are proportionally ahead of large enterprises in using cloud-based storage services. Here the cloud options have proven good enough for a common risk factor – security. Not only is security viewed positively by enterprises that use cloud storage, the proportion of those who see it as a positive (rather than negative) factor in deciding to deploy increases as enterprises go from evaluating, through planning, to deployment
Flexibility and Low Cost Not the Same as Lower Total Cost
Cloud services will bring lower up front capital spending however it will not necessarily mean lower overall total costs. Operational costs might simply be displaced or shifted from one infrastructure area to another.
Capacity and Agility Benefits
The customer does not need to acquire hardware to boost resources, and consequently does not need to have expertise in the underlying hardware in order to use the services. The focus can be on enabling core business processes with applications while decreasing the unit costs of compute capacity. So, for example, a cloud-provisioned retail Web site can scale to meet Christmas shopping demands. The retailer only pays for the additional capacity used during the rush period.
Given both the future promise and current risks of cloud computing, Info-Tech recommends the following:
- Take advantage of higher risk tolerance
- Focus on the internal cloud
- Start with smaller, low-risk, limited term projects
- Stress transparency, accountability from cloud providers
Interest in cloud computing is strong among small enterprises as they explore potential for cost savings and agility. The disruptive potential of the cloud exists, but be careful to set appropriate cost saving expectations when considering cloud solutions.