By Hepsy Mkhungo, CEO and co-founder of Linkage
Until recently, cloud adoption was perceived as more suitable and accessible to large enterprises, with many Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) simply not considering the move to cloud computing as feasible or even necessary. However, this has changed rapidly with the move towards remote working, driven by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. SMMEs learned many valuable lessons about the cloud during this time, such as seeing how this technology could enable them to go to market with greater speed and agility.
Thus, aside from the considerable focus that has been placed on the efficiencies that cloud technology can bring to remote working and work from home models, SMMEs are finally becoming more aware of how cloud computing can allow them to survive as small businesses in the new digital age.
An increasing number of SMMEs are starting to look for ways to leverage the cloud to drive efficiencies in their business, introducing agility and flexibility, especially as most of these companies are not in a position to invest large amounts of money in on-premises physical infrastructure and the requisite technology skills.
Making it easy
Another factor driving the adoption of cloud computing among smaller companies is the growing number of cloud service providers that are making it increasingly easy for SMMEs to leverage cloud technology to become more productive and to access global markets.
Arguably, one of the biggest benefits that cloud computing brings to SMMEs is its price flexibility and resource elasticity, which allows businesses to only use and pay for what they need in terms of capacity and resources, removing the risk of overprovisioning. Elasticity allows companies to scale capacity and resources up and down, depending on their changing business needs.
Furthermore, security becomes a shared responsibility between the cloud providers and the customer, taking away this burden from companies that would have otherwise been entirely responsible for securing their IT environments if they developed their own tools and platforms in-house.
Crucially, moving to the cloud invariably gives companies the ability to reach markets that they never intended to. Most SMMEs tend to look at their local market, without ever considering a wider, global audience. Many do not realise that the digital world is actually quite small until they suddenly gain access to new markets through the cloud.
Any business, any size
While the perception used to be that only large corporations with ample resources could reap the benefits of cloud technology, the truth is that cloud computing is suited to any business, across any industry vertical. The benefits of cloud adoption are not limited to any type or size of business, with many small technology start-ups being born in the cloud. Utilising and leveraging cloud resources allows these businesses to avoid investing heavily in physical infrastructure.
However, cloud adoption does not have to be a journey into the unknown for SMMEs. Partnering with a reputable cloud service provider can assist these companies with implementing cloud adoption. These cloud providers have defined a path for cloud adoption based on roles and industry verticals and have developed frameworks to support the journey. Cloud vendors can provide a huge amount of support to small businesses, regardless of the industry vertical they operate in or where the business is along its lifecycle.
Find the right partner
But the most important thing for SMMEs to do is to find the right partner who will resonate and walk the journey with them. The right partner will let a customer focus on their core business while providing a technology team that understands their business needs and requirements. SMMEs must also understand that they do not have to go fully into the cloud, but select the products and services that make sense at the time. They can then scale up as their business grows.
Small businesses should not be afraid to adopt new technologies – in fact, they should incorporate technology into everything they do. This will not only help them to professionalise their environments, but also help with leveraging data insights to inform their strategies. Cloud adoption can help SMMEs gain a competitive advantage, provided they start this journey with the right partner to guide them along.