An article in Forbes caught my attention recently with its prediction that the future of managed services is in the cloud. But reading through it, I realized the story focused on enterprise-size companies, rather than the smaller businesses we so often work with at MyITpros. In fact, I had to wonder if our clients might read it and think the predictions of cloud growth don’t apply to them at all.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Based on what we’re seeing and hearing from our clients, the cloud is now more than ever an IT destination for businesses of all sizes. To demonstrate that point, let’s take a look at the very compelling information in the Forbes article – but in the context of what companies like the ones we work with are experiencing.
Seeing Growth On The Horizon
There’s definitely “room for the cloud to grow in enterprise usage,” as the Forbes article states, and that prediction applies to companies beyond the enterprise classification as well. Every new prospect I talk to these days has some component of their business in the cloud, whereas just a few years ago, this was true of only about 20 percent of businesses on our radar.
Migration to the cloud is in full swing, and I anticipate MyITpros will see this growth continue. Over the last couple of years, we’ve mainly seen an increase in companies moving file storage and email applications to the cloud, driven largely by the release of the Microsoft Office 365 platform. But there are still companies that haven’t moved these types of applications over yet, and there are also still other applications that will be moving in the coming years. It seems inevitable, especially when you consider the benefits the cloud offers.
Doing Business At The Speed Of Cloud
One of the most tremendous benefits we’re seeing for companies moving applications to the cloud is the speed at which they’re able to get things done. For example, we recently had a new client – a startup company – asking for recommendations for an email platform. We walked them through a few options, they quickly made a choice and, by the next business day, they had email up and running.
Not all that long ago, if a small business needed email, they would have had to buy a server (assuming they had the physical space to house it), acquire an email domain, have the server set up, get the email going on the server – it would typically take several weeks to get the job done. But now, with the cloud, a new business can have email completely up and running in just a day.
Streamlining Business Requirements
As I mentioned in the previous example, before the cloud was a possibility, businesses not only needed physical servers, they needed physical space to house those servers. Today, the cloud is making it possible to streamline the amount of space a business needs – or to eliminate the need for space entirely.
One of our clients took advantage of the cloud to get their startup going without having to wait until they had the resources for office space and equipment. Instead, they signed up with our cloud service and got their startup established exclusively in the cloud. This enabled them to work from their homes for the first couple of years while the company got established. Eventually, they moved to a physical office. But the fact that they didn’t have to do so immediately allowed them to get their business going sooner.
Giving Businesses The Agility To Compete
For smaller businesses or businesses just starting out, the cloud provides more than just the speed and flexibility described in the preceding examples. More significantly, it offers the advantage of business agility. One of our clients, a small company that manufactures and sells consumer goods, is now much better equipped to compete with major companies to get to market, because the cloud enables them to turn on a dime, shifting strategy and quickly deploying applications and data to support changes.
It’s just not that easy for a large enterprise to respond to dynamic markets, because they’re likely to be more deeply invested in traditional systems and hardware that they can’t always change quickly. Adding capabilities in the cloud helps, but it’s rare that a sizable enterprise will be as agile as a smaller company that has more resources in the cloud.
If you’re wondering about the wisdom of moving more of your business to the cloud, I’m confident you’ll discover many of the same benefits that larger enterprises are seeing – and some additional advantages, too.
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Bill McCharen, COO
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