Is your focus on the cost savings of cloud computing hiding the true benefit ?
Read any article that advocates the adoption of the cloud and in the first one or two paragraphs, inevitably they will discuss how much money a business will save. Keeping up to date with current technology, having to fix a server that crashes, hiring an expensive team who are the only members of staff you know how to fix the bugs in your computer or protect you from an email virus; implement Cloud computing and these are costs your business will no longer need to carry.
Yet by only focusing on the cost-savings are you ignoring the bigger benefits of the Cloud ?
In truth, a move to hosted Exchange or something similar reflects a change in attitude which is doing more to effect the behaviour of business, rather than its cash-flow. That is not to say it is not cheaper, but the way it impacts how a business works is probably a more fundamental one.
Loughtec asked small and medium businesses why they’d taken up the Cloud. Price was important, the businesses said, but in fact it was the ability to collaborate which impacted on them more. They want to make sure the service works when they need it, rather than just opting for something cheap.
Should this be a huge surprise ?
Businesses are not the same as consumers. When we’re shopping and browsing as customers we’re more focused on price because we’re likely to be thinking about household bills and budget, rather than making an investment. The approach is not the same for businesses. We don’t shop like a consumer when we buy for our company, we buy thinking about the impact it will have on how we work, whether it will make us more streamlined and flexible, whether it will help us do a better job.
The fact that businesses are entering into a contract with Cloud providers thinking about the bigger picture shows a real determination to offer clients more. Businesses want to collaborate, they want their IT to be an opportunity, not a hindrance and want moving to the Cloud to create opportunity, as weel as solving a problem and thinking about cash flow.
So what does it say about the Cloud industry if it sells on price, rather than service? Should Cloud providers along with Exchange hosting re-sellers be focusing on the impact on business, on day to day activity and the service that can be offered to clients, instead of how cheap it is ?
If businesses purely focused on income streams then thier ability to see opportunity and drive itself forward would cease to exist. Flexibility and innovation are key for small businesses, particularly those who have begun as start-ups during a recession and are used to cuttng their cloth accordingly. They are seeing the Cloud as the next step in their development and evolution, rather than simply an opportunity to cut cost. providers should be seen to do the same.