Is the cloud a feasible option for SMEs?
The new generation of cloud platforms offer businesses of all sizes the opportunity to begin their digital transformation journey, says Traci Maynard, Microsoft Executive at Axiz.
While an increasing number of enterprises have recognised the value delivered by the cloud, the question has long lingered as to whether it is a viable solution for the small and medium enterprise (SME) space. This has changed since the advent of some of the latest platforms, according to Traci Maynard, Microsoft Executive at Axiz, given how easy it is to use and that no high-level knowledge, specialist skills or technical competencies are required to deliver an effective cloud solution via this platform.
In particular, she says, when it comes to infrastructure as a service (IAAS), SMEs love the ability to obtain computing infrastructure that is rapidly and easily provisioned and managed over the Internet, delivering the ability to scale up and down according to demand, while only paying for what is used.
"With IAAS each resource is rented as a component, meaning these small businesses can pick and choose what they need and can easily provision more as required. More importantly, there are plenty of partners available to work with, including global ISVs such as Intel Security, Red Hat and Citrix, to name just three. This means that it doesn't matter whether the foundation they are working from is proprietary or open source."
"For an Axiz point of view, our expansive knowledge of the ICT industry enables us to provide end-to-end innovative technology and professional solutions to our reseller base, and this includes expertise across the cloud platforms that are most suitable for SMEs. In fact, the demand for these cloud platforms is growing so rapidly that we are continually investing in more skills in this arena."
Maynard explains that when it comes to Axiz's own SME resellers and partners, the company is of the opinion that there is plenty of opportunity for these players to offer their end clients services that are built on top the cloud platforms. "After all, these do all the heavy lifting related to IAAS and provisioning, which means that providing some form of managed or project service becomes an ideal route to differentiating yourself from the competition."
"This gives SMEs the opportunity to negotiate with customers not merely according to price, but based on the provision of a better service offering. And of course, if your end customers are only paying for what they use, thanks to the cloud, it means they will have more money available in their IT budget to purchase more services from you."
Maynard adds that Axiz is well-positioned to assist SMEs in taking their first cloud steps. Axiz understands that the shift to the cloud can be daunting, she says, especially for those smaller businesses that are often nervous about rowing their own boat in these uncharted waters, but the company has the means to assist them in finding the right partner to help them navigate it successfully.
"So it is really not so much a question of whether moving to the cloud is achievable for SMEs, but rather one of how quickly they can do it. I feel that undertaking the shift to the cloud should be at the top of the agenda for SMEs this year, otherwise they will certainly find themselves behind the digital transformation curve."
"Have no doubt, digital transformation is critical in today's rapidly evolving world, and the foundation upon which this is built is the cloud. Moreover, as you move aspects of your business to the cloud, you begin to transform how the business operates and transacts, and as you do this, so you create a platform to drive additional digital transformation - so the cloud has never been more necessary," she concludes.