– Jonathan Crane, Chief Commercial Officer, IPsoft, says:
For large enterprises to keep up with competitors, they need to adopt new technology that enables them to better serve customers, expand globally and compete more effectively overall. We’ve seen this trend demonstrated in the rapid uptake of cloud computing, and public cloud in particular, by large enterprises, as this technology is widely known to generate vast cost-savings on infrastructure, and enable wide, if not global, geographic access via the Internet.
But, while cloud computing has proliferated in the large enterprise market, adoption rates have remained slow among small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a surprising trend considering that these organizations could reap the same business benefits that large enterprises are. Recent IDC research shows that SMB cloud spending will grow by only 20 percent over the next five years, with three in ten mid-sized organizations adopting public cloud solutions by 2018 – a relatively low figure in comparison to similar measurements in the large enterprise market. Why is there such a disconnect between these two groups?
If public cloud providers were able to better demonstrate their value to SMB buyers, it’s likely that they could grow adoption rates in the SMB market. One of the primary reasons SMBs have been slow to adopt public cloud computing is, they don’t fully understand how to deploy, operate or monitor these environments. As a result, while SMB IT decision-makers may acknowledge that cloud can help businesses of all sizes, they simply don’t know how to go about extracting those benefits. And, with long-term contracts or hard-to-understand pricing models, public cloud can be very intimidating.
For cloud providers to tap into the cautious SMB market, they need to make the public cloud deployment process as easy as possible, educating decision-makers in order to reverse this knowledge gap. This requires a comprehensive, service-oriented approach, so cloud providers will need to work with systems integrators (SIs) and value-added resellers (VARs) that can bundle cloud services and create an easy-to-roll-out cloud environment for SMBs.
There are some large cloud providers making strides toward this goal, but what we as an industry are still lacking is a full-service, holistic approach to packaging public cloud for small businesses. For example, a mechanic shop owner is likely managing all of his paperwork, billing and order management from a desktop computer or in written ledgers, and has the minimum data storage and security. A public cloud environment with an integrated package of security, information management and payroll services, among others, would help the mechanic focus on fixing cars rather than worry about recovering financial information after an IT outage. The end result is a happy customer, better business and growth in public cloud usage amongst SMBs.
With a full-service approach that bakes in automation, Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service, SMBs will be able to seamlessly assimilate their expanding infrastructures into these public cloud environments. Public cloud also offers significant cost-savings for SMBs, which typically don’t have a dedicated IT support staff or the capital to invest in and manage extra hardware. If providers can help SMBs realize the ease at which they can move to this type of environment, I predict that we’ll see public cloud adoption, as a whole, grow dramatically.