Mid-Tier businesses in the sweet spot for cloud benefits
Cost Saving is not the main driver
It is becoming ever clearer that the UK’s mid-tier businesses and fast moving start-ups are already reaping the real benefits of Cloud computing. Surprisingly, for many pundits, cost savings and competitive Cloud pricing are NOT necessarily the main drivers for mid tier businesses in the UK.
A recent Roundtable hosted by Pulsant was attended by HP, Deloitte, Pitmans, Westcoast, Cloud Computing Intelligence magazine, Prism ID and Content Guru, came to a consensus that agility, flexibility and increased security are the main drivers to switching over to Cloud.
It also revealed that one of the unexpected Cloud benefits for SME’s has been the enhance collaboration and the ease at which companies can extend their partnerships, thanks to their Cloud capability.
The round table, organised by The Business Magazine, threw up some other interesting conclusions:
It seems that SME’s are in the genuine “sweet spot” for the operational and efficiency benefits of Cloud. And with over three years of proven marketplace evidence to work with, they are now falling into three distinct categories: 1) Those who have already adopted Cloud and are reaping the rewards. 2) Those giving it a tentative trial, probably as part of a Private Cloud project 3) Those who feel it is simply is not right for them, now. Basically, it’s a similar scenario to the adoption of outsourcing. It took about two/three years for mid tier businesses to get used to the idea and there was understandable early resistance and internal protectionism. But now, second time around, outsourcing is seen as perfectly safe and sensible. It seems that the larger the business the more that internal protectionism comes into play.
A barrier to Cloud adoption is the reluctance to replace the major investments in “in-house” IT systems that have taken place over the last 10-12 years. There is a definite requirement for SMEs to not let this “baggage” restrain their true assessment of Cloud and to take a full 360 degree dispassionate view. Companies operating in a highly regulated environment and with large existing IT assets are naturally taking a little more breathing space in assessing Cloud, but those working with mainly digital assets and in a poorly regulated marketplace, are making Cloud central to their whole development and growth strategy. Taking small steps to adoption and gaining confidence in the Cloud through practical experience is still the current trend.
Another key driver is going to be the increasing demand of younger generation workers wishing to use a variety of devices in their normal daily lives. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a hot subject with new Graduates entering work asking why they are restrained by traditional practices and out-of-date IT access capability. The virtual learning environment is now prevalent in most Primary Schools and we are seeing many now digitising their entire Library. Youngsters do not see the same need or worry about security and are already used to using tablets or smartphones in their social media world before they even enter the workplace.
The importance of Security cannot be underplayed. Security remains a number one priority for thousands of businesses. Where the data is physically located, compliance with Data Protection legislation and resilience at peak times are all essential elements when choosing a Cloud alternative. With this in mind, a global Cloud industry wide code of conduct and better legislation can’t arrive too quickly. In summary, the Roundtable participants all agreed that for UK mid-tier business and SME’s, Cloud opens the door to “game changing” new efficiencies, faster ways of going to market and collaborating, which in the end lead to tangible growth and increased profits.