Before we answer the question of where to start, let’s consider why an end user should opt for cloud first:
The company (possibly a startup) is budget conscious - Cloud provides flexible and scalable access to technology without additional capital expenses on hardware components that may or may not work.
The SMB is forecasting rapid growth - A small business can choose to increase or decrease capacity based on seasonality, new business projects or even as the business grows over time.
The company does not have a physical office space - There is no physical space available in the office (or requirements of an actual office space at all with mobile devices) for servers or additional energy costs with cooling, etc. Cloud can be the great equalizer for access to technology to drive business results regardless of business size.
Given the various business problems that cloud can address, it’s not surprising that it’s expected to play a role in almost 80 percent of U.S. SMBs by 2020 according to the study, “Small Business Success in the Cloud,” from consulting firm Emergent Research and Intuit. And while SMBs are often unique as it relates to technology needs, these organizations tend to start their journeys to the cloud from a common point.
McKinsey’s analysis of the SMB cloud journey found that nearly half of all SMBs begin their cloud journeys with either a communication/collaboration service (ex. email) or recovery service (ex. backup) as their first cloud solution. These provide a common foundation across all types of SMBs while allowing additional services to support their niche requirements.
The question of “Where to start?” looks pretty easy to answer: IT solutions providers should just pick a communication/collaboration or recovery service from their preferred vendor partner as the entry point solution to pitch, and off they go. Not so fast!
The real starting point for a small business looking to leverage cloud has nothing to do with technology. The real starting point for small businesses looking to leverage cloud computing is the user and their work experience.
Historically, the IT department (or outsourced equivalent) has owned the responsibility for the direction of IT infrastructure. But the balance has shifted with cloud and the proliferation of Shadow IT.
Line of Business (LOB) users now have a seat at the table when it comes to technology decisions because of the greater likelihood that they will adopt Shadow IT solutions if their voice is not heard. Simply put, access to technology via the cloud has changed the decision-making dynamics in organizations.
By starting a conversation with the business users at your small business end user accounts, you can better understand their current goals, aspirations (and frustrations) to find a cloud solution that adequately meets those needs before those LOB users implement a solution on their own.
At Tech Data, we have a team dedicated to helping you start or accelerate your cloud business. Call 800-237-8931, ext. 87663 or email email@example.com to learn more.