Migration to the cloud is becoming common practice for businesses across the globe, moving from a nice-to-have to a standard business resource, allowing applications and information to be processed on servers belonging to 3rd parties accessed through the internet. Yet, almost half of South Africa’s small businesses still aren’t using cloud technology.
Business and accounting software company, Xero, in partnership with World Wide Worx, found that only 58% of South Africa’s small businesses claim that cloud technology features in their business plans for 2018.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the common misconception that cloud computing is expensive, and with the current economic environment, it’s just not seen as a priority. This despite the numerous benefits that cloud computing offers, such as increased efficiency, an increased Return on Investment (ROI) and a gained competitive advantage able to be deployed across several verticals of the business including finance, marketing and human resource management.
Not only can small businesses take advantage of these benefits through the adoption of cloud technology, but it’s also not as expensive as it’s thought to be. In fact, many of the country’s smaller companies are missing out on the significant cost savings that cloud actually offers. So, what makes the cloud affordable for smaller enterprises?
In the same way that we pay for utilities such as water and electricity, when it comes to the direct cost of the cloud, businesses need only pay for the capacity they need and actually use. This leads to no wasted resources, no unnecessary expenditure and enables small businesses to completely design their cloud capabilities and control costs.
No need for costly infrastructure and specialised skills
Digital transformation for a small business can seem expensive when looking at the amount of added technical infrastructure that would be needed to do so, such as servers, routers, and software. However, cloud computing has removed the need for on-premises IT infrastructure, which means no need for data centres or the IT staff to take care of and run these systems as cloud service providers, like Vodacom, now do it for you.
A California State University study found that small businesses who adopted the cloud drastically lowered their capital investment in hardware and software. As there are no servers to maintain, no infrastructure to set up and no software to purchase and install, small businesses are able to acquire IT resources that they weren’t able to before.
Flexibility and Scalability
The best thing about cloud technology, especially for smaller businesses, is the flexibility it offers. Organisations are able to tailor cloud solutions to the needs of the business and either scale services up or down according to performance needs, budget, or even during particular events.
This means that with cloud, businesses are now able to accommodate more data activity without needing to buy more hardware, increasing or decreasing your capacity as and when it is needed. Because of this capability, the cloud can be as affordable or costly as a business needs it to be at any point in time.
The ability to choose exactly what type of cloud to use also offers a small enterprise greater flexibility, whether it be private (used by a single organisation regardless of location of the datacentre), community (used by a small set of consumers sharing similar requirements and typically from the same industry vertical), public (owned and operated by a cloud service provider) or hybrid cloud (spanning over various models where each piece is owned and operated by different entities).
The cloud provides businesses with the agility and access to essential data and apps they need to be decisive and differentiate themselves within an ever-evolving and competitive market landscape. The exact reasons that small businesses have for not investing in or implementing cloud solutions into their business are exactly the reasons that they should.
Not only can the cloud improve productivity in an organisation, but it also offers a more flexible way of working while also reducing costs.
By not adopting cloud computing services into their organisations, small businesses are missing out on an affordable method to digitally transform their business, increase efficiencies and improve operations.
By Grant Tate
Edited by Jenna Delport
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