Building a winning cloud strategy for SMBs

Oliver Niemandt

Date: June 2022

 

In the past year, cloud spending by small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) shot up significantly, according to the annual Flexera State of the Cloud Report.

As many as 53% of SMBs surveyed in the report are spending more than US$1.2-million annually on the cloud. That’s up from 38% in 2021.


Companies are rapidly adopting cloud as they realise its enormous potential to create new opportunities. For SMBs, the question to ask is how the cloud can help them grow revenue, reduce long-term IT costs, attract new customers, and improve business processes and security.


“SMBs need access to scalable infrastructure and capabilities available as services in order to benefit from the cloud,” says Oliver Niemandt, GM of sales at Tarsus On Demand.

Before making the move to the cloud, SMB owners should ask three key questions:

 

1. What is the cloud going to enable the business to do that it cannot do right now?

It’s about identifying what part of the business will be improved by cloud technology. There is a wide range of technologies available through three basic cloud services:

  • IaaS, or infrastructure as a service, builds the infrastructure of a cloud-based technology.
  • PaaS, or platform as a service, helps developers build custom apps via an API that can be delivered over the cloud.
  • SaaS, or software as a service, is cloud-based software companies can sell and use.
  • By using cloud services, SMBs can quickly scale both infrastructure and software as needed. They can also lower costs as they don’t need to pay for on-premises software licences, or for IT employees to do installations and upgrades. Because there are so many services available, there is no need to build from scratch and SMBs can choose from those that will serve their business needs best.

2. What on-premises technology do we have that we no longer want to own?

Should the SMB owner prefer to move to a utility model, cloud is the obvious choice. Cloud-based technology is capex-free. There’s no longer an upfront investment for hardware or ongoing costs for licences and updates.

All maintenance and support sit with the cloud supplier who offers customer support, ongoing maintenance and regular software updates.

 

3. Which services are available in the cloud that can be applied in the business?

There are hundreds of SaaS-based services for SMBs which generally cater for an entire business environment, spanning: CRM, ERP and e-mail, to name a few. Many of these are pre-developed services that can simply be fetched from the cloud and paid for on a consumption or subscription basis from managed services providers (MSPs).

The relationship between an SMB and the MSP providing and supporting the cloud solution is critically important as they provide advice and business-critical reliable services on a managed basis. Trust is key as the SMB is handing over the core of its business to the provider.

 

Choosing the right provider

Some ISVs are proficient at providing highly specialised cloud solutions for niche demands, while others have developed solutions for large sections of the market, such as payroll and HR.

“The benefits for SMBs who access our ecosystem of cloud providers is that they know they are choosing a tried and tested Tarsus On Demand partner that is experienced at solving business problems rather than technology troubles and can help them to develop a winning cloud strategy,” says Niemandt.