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Cloud - now integral for SMEs and startups​​

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Cloud - now integral for SMEs and startups

A growing eco-system of offerings, cost savings and operational agility are increasing cloud adoption globally. Indian SMEs need to follow suit in order to stay competitive and grow.

Cloud computing has come a long way from the time of providing basic Infrastructure, Software, or Platform as a Service. Today, it brings far more value than CapEx savings, making it a very compelling proposition for businesses, especially the small and medium ones and startups. Several global market surveys suggest a considerable increase in cloud adoption and growth in the eco-system itself. This, along with umpteen success stories of SMEs and startups that became large enterprises by leveraging cloud computing platforms, are proof enough that Indian SMEs can’t afford to ignore cloud computing. If they do, then it will be at their own risk. Here’s why.

There’s a Surge in Cloud Adoption by SMEs Globally

Cloud adoption is gaining traction across the globe. According IDC, Small and medium businesses will contribute to 40% of the overall global spending on public cloud services by 2019. In fact, this spending will grow six times faster than the overall IT spending. In the US, according to IDC, only 20% of the SMBs were using public cloud services five years ago. Now, 75% of the SMBs (less than 100 employees) are using public cloud services. Back-office functions like email, data backup and payroll are areas that SMBs are quickly adopting. Indian SMEs should evaluate this trend and see how it can help them compete at a global level.

Indian Cloud Market to Grow at 38% this year

The cloud services market in India itself is growing very rapidly. According to a Gartner forecast, the cloud services market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 38% this year and reach $1.81 billion. Indian SMEs and startups would be key contributors to this growth, because they require a scalable infrastructure that grows with their business. 75% of them plan to use cloud based solutions because they need scalable technologies, according to a survey by American Express called the Global SME Pulse 2017.

Save Cost and Increase Operational Agility

As cloud based services work on a pay per use model, they’re far more cost-effective than purchasing expensive, on-premise software licenses, hardware, storage, networking, and other equipment. Startups and SMEs don’t have the time, energy, or budgets to manage such an on-premise infrastructure, and in an increasingly competitive landscape, they can’t afford to either. Cloud provides them secure, scalable, enterprise grade applications and infrastructure that was earlier beyond their reach. By getting such cutting edge, world-class infrastructure and applications at a much lower cost (and less management headaches), SMEs and startups can instead, use these savings to grow their business.

A/B testing is another benefit of using cloud based services, where an organization could quickly setup two versions of say an online store front or online portal, and decide which one customers like more. They can then quickly dismantle the one that’s not needed, and only pay for the version they’re using.

As cloud has an always on infrastructure with high uptime, it brings unprecedented agility, availability, collaboration, and efficiency in business operations. Plus, you only pay for what you’re using, as we just explained via the A/B testing example.

The Next Level of Innovation is Happening on the Cloud

Besides using the cloud platform for traditional applications, cloud also becomes essential for technologies like mobility, analytics and M2M communication. No wonder then that one in two Indian CIOs are realizing the importance of cloud and willing to adopt cloud-based solutions.

Cloud is also being used for the next generation technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Integration. In fact, cloud service providers are increasingly adding AI to their kitty to improve analytical and predictive capabilities. Google’s G Suite for instance, which is a cloud based collaboration suite, now comes embedded with AI across its applications. This helps make collaboration and productivity smarter.

In fact, cloud based business applications like G Suite, Office 365, and numerous others are enabling small companies to grow their business faster. Whether it’s field force management, CRM, Security, or any other application, it’s all available in the cloud, thereby leveling the playing field for small businesses. Cloud based applications can give small businesses the competitive edge they need by making them more technology savvy, thereby helping them innovate faster in their markets.

Startups are Growing Thanks to Cloud Adoption

Cloud is also a boon for the burgeoning startups eco-system in India. According to Gartner, there’s increased demand for compute intensive workloads among startups. Another survey on cloud adoption published in International Journal of Computer Science and Technology last year substantiates this by revealing that 76% of Indian startups are interested in adopting cloud services.

By adopting cloud, startups can focus on their key business priorities instead of worrying about technology. BYJU’s, a rising star of the Indian startup eco-system for instance, uses cloud-based collaboration tools to help their teams across geographies work seamlessly as one. With Vodafone’s support, BYJU’s also has a single point of contact for all cloud solutions and services.

Overall, Indian SMEs and startups can leverage the cloud eco-system smartly to grow their business without worrying about getting entangled in managing technology.

Sources:

  • IDC Survey: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS40960516
  • Gartner report: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2014-2020, 4Q16 Update.
    http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3592917
  • American Express: Global SME Pulse 2017
  • http://www.ijcst.com/vol71/2/38-jipson-george-thoomkuzhy.pdf
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