Boosting Competitive Advantage for SMEs Through the Power of the Cloud
A flagging economy, increasing investor uncertainty and plenty of other factors are placing increasing pressure on companies to up their game if they hope to weather the storm descending on the business landscape, not just locally, but across the world. It’s time to innovate – and in today’s increasingly digital world, that means making use of the various new technologies available to cut costs and streamline processes.
Here’s why, in the quest to remain competitive, cloud computing is set to become your organisation’s saving grace.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
It may sound dramatic, but with every passing hack or data breach, it’s becoming clear that even small businesses are not immune to the threat of cybercrime. Ransomware and malware are two of the most common ways in which businesses are frequently breached by cybercriminals, but businesses who make use of cloud-based storage and continuity services have a secret ace up their sleeve – the ability to quickly and easily return online, retrieve their lost or stolen data, and get back to business as usual.
Flexibility and Scalability
Business agility is more than a buzzword – in a fast-moving and competitive landscape, the ability to respond to changing conditions quickly is essential. In fact, Gartner recently found that the quest for agility is the main driver for cloud adoption in business. Scaling up or down, reducing operational complexity, and quickly provisioning new services affordably are all essential to entering new markets and driving meaningful organisational growth.
Lower Capital Investments and Operating Costs
The Cloud is, at its core, a sharing economy. Making use of best-in-class business IT services once involved significant costs – after all, on-premise servers and equipment, software licenses, and the experienced personnel needed to run an effective digital infrastructure, are expensive. Making use of the Cloud to move to a more subscription-based model means your business has access to the best services on offer and the expertise to manage them more affordably than was possible before.
More Satisfied, More Productive, More Collaborative Employees
There are plenty of cloud-based collaborative tools that can dramatically increase how productively your employees work. It’s time to start thinking well beyond Skype and email. Perhaps they’d like to try Slack instead – one of the world’s most popular cloud-based collaboration platforms. Or perhaps you’ve been thinking of implementing a Bring Your Own Device or Choose Your Own Device Policy to improve workplace mobility for the sales team that’s always on the go? All of these functions rest on the ability to access data and services via the Cloud.
With the grace period for compliance to the Protection of Personal Information Act coming to an end this year, most digital businesses are scrambling to achieve compliance – and quickly. The South African data breach that dominated headlines in 2017 should be a cautionary tale for all. If your data centre is not secure, neither is your customers’ sensitive information. What’s more, the EU’s recent GDPR legislation means that if you work with – or sell to – an EU citizen in your business dealings, you’ll have to be compliant with EU data protection regulations as well. Moving your business’s data storage to a cloud-based provider means that compliance with POPI and GDPR is far easier to achieve – after all, they’re the experts! With a third-party service provider taking care of your compliance needs, you’re free to get back to what really matters – growing your business.
In the pre-Cloud era, disparate devices, technologies, and software, sourced from different service providers, often came with difficulties in integration. This is not ideal if smooth, seamless operations are your business’s goal. In the age of the Cloud, however, service providers are all-too-aware that their digitally-delivered services must operate within a shared ecosystem, with businesses free to pick, choose, and combine services as they see fit. Cloud-based technologies are made to work together – improving the user experience for not only your customers, but your employees as well.
The Bottom Line
It’s irrelevant what size your business is, and what sector it operates within. If your company makes use of digital tools, the Cloud is a game-changer that can help any start-up or SME run their IT resources just like a major corporate enterprise – at a more affordable price than ever before. If you’re looking to scale rapidly and stay competitive, migrating to the Cloud is your best bet for success.