It is indisputable that cloud computing has heralded a new era in IT, where small and medium sized businesses are now able to access and consume technology that has previously only been available to larger organisations. From Software as a Service Point of Sale Systems, Accounting and Finance Systems, and HR Systems, all the way to cloud based Servers and Storage (IaaS), cloud has been seen as the “great equaliser” in the technology arms race.
This trend is also clearly evident in Australia too. According to IDC research commissioned by Cisco in May 2017, one in two SMBs were already consuming some cloud service, with SMB’s adopting cloud as a cheaper and quicker alternative to boost capacity or adopt new applications. However, the IDC report also highlighted there is still an air of caution, with many SMBs still wary of moving to the cloud completely, thus adopting a hybrid model.
The cloud can be very disruptive
We have all heard stories of companies challenging and disrupting highly established industries such as transport, tourism and travel, but these are totally new business models being deployed at scale. Whilst these stories are undoubtedly interesting, I don’t see them relating directly to the majority of Australian SMBs. However, there still are some significant lessons that can be learned from these highly disruptive business models.
The challenge Australian SMBs face is how to disrupt themselves and their competitors, while also augmenting new technologies into their businesses. Technologies that will better service their customers, attract new customers and expand their market opportunity. Cloud affords SMB’s the ability to consume technologies to address these challenges without having significant upfront costs.
Whilst cloud provides a great deal of opportunity, SMB’s must also pay attention to the associated costs. All Australian SMBs are facing great challenges in managing electricity, gas and other utilizes prices, with Cloud no different.
Cloud is a utility, the more you use the more you pay. Therefore, the approach needs to be understanding your usage requirements, what you actually need and to turn it off or scale back when you no longer need it. There has also been a rapid increase of on premise cloud like technologies, such as Hyper Converged Infrastructure, which provides a simple to deploy and manage onsite resource at a fixed cost. This sort of technology, coupled with cloud-based services such as the services offered in our Cisco Start portfolio, can help to address many technology challenges faced by Australian SMBs today.
Rodney Hamill is the Director, Data Centre and Cloud, Cisco, Australia and New Zealand.