Small Business Technology Trends: And They Are All Cloud
And They Are All Cloud
AN OPINIONATED GUIDE TO THE SUBJECT
DENIS S WILSON – PRESIDENT – DWP INFORMATION ARCHITTS
DWP Information Architects Inc.
Board Member of Independent Association of
Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP)
Principal Liaison for the Microsoft Community
PART 2 What are the ten small business trends that use the cloud
PART 3 How to get started
PART 1 What is Cloud and how does it work
What is the Cloud?
The “Cloud” is a way to describe hosted
applications, services, servers… hosted
everything, that you gain access to via
the Internet. And “hosted” means,
someone else owns the headaches, you
rent the use of the resources you need.
products are we
We use lots’a different
cloud products today.
Online Banking / Wells Fargo
CRM / Salesforce
File Storage / Dropbox
Social Media / Facebook
Accounting / QuickBooks Online
Productivity / Microsoft 365
Apple Storage / iCloud
Telephony / Skype
Retail / Amazon
far outperform their
peers in the
More likely to invest in new tech
Faster job growth
Faster increase in annual revenues
Technology as a differentiator
Than what are the key reasons we are
afraid to adopt the cloud in our business
We don’t know what it is, and how to figure out the
TCO and then the ROI
We do not understand how the new products fit our
business model – can we keep our old one?
The new technologies are hard to adopt making
training an issue and gain employee acceptance
We simply do not understand the language used to
describe and sell the technologies
So what are the
I am not afraid
1. ABANDON OR REDUCE ON-PREMISES
Offices used to host an array of desktop computers,
printers, servers, network switches, wireless access points
and firewalls. The cost of procurement and maintenance
severely dented the bottom line
As IT equipment ages out, look at the cloud instead. My
guess is that you can replace half of the gear in your office.
Use an expert to outline your options
2. START NEW PROJECTS IN THE CLOUD
If you’re happy with your current solutions, e.g. it works and it
provides value, consider using the cloud for new projects.
Some that you might consider are: mobility, databases of
customers, or backup and data recovery.
The other new kind of new projects to consider are specialty apps
designed for your internal users and for your customers. Not
expensive and way up on the “cool” charts.
3. INCREASED CLOUD BACKUP AND DATA
This project is a natural for the cloud. Most implementations of
on-premises backup are poorly executed and maintained.
Look to the cloud for data backup, data archiving, data recovery,
and disaster recovery.
However, keep two key issues in mind when choosing: total cost
of service, and how quickly can the vendor deliver a recovery.
Also, as your data is your company, use a hybrid approach. Backup
to local storage, and back that up to the cloud. Get an expert.
4. SENSIBLE DATA ARCHIVING
As storage costs continue to plummet, it has become the norm to
store everything and keep it for posterity.
Be wary of compliance issues: IRS, PCI, SOX, HIPPA, and others.
At least retain all customer information, financial records, and any
company-owned intellectual property (IP) of value.
5. MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IS A MUST
As younger workers enter the workforce, they demand the ability
to run business applications via smartphones.
Bosses and wired staff who own that latest wiz-bang computing
technology want to use it. BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – has
become the dominent trend.
60% of SMBs call mobile solutions critical to business
6. AUTOMATED MARKETING
The primary reason most new companies fail in the first two years (other
than under-capitalization) is generally attributed to a lack of marketing savvy.
With a plethora of cloud-based marketing applications, SMB marketing costs
are much more affordable. However, the business owner must up their game.
You must understand and use best practices to market to new customers
Get an expert who knows the ins-and-outs of the new marketing.
There is a lot of hype and you need to test drive a least a couple of solutions
before making your choice.
7. INTEGRATED MARKETING
62% of SMB buyers are still looking for basic contact management
like ACT!, for the first step to sales force automation (SFA).
42% of US buyers, however, are looking for an integrated suite of
multiple CRM applications.
Of those buyers, 88% want combination of sales and marketing
automation. Bottom line, SMB want fuller-featured CRM to better
align marketing and sales.
And further, 71% expressed a preference for a cloud-based
8. CRM: SKIP THE SOCIAL BELLS AND
Don’t get oversold on social media marketing. For every story of a
SMB blog that attracts lots of new customers, and a Facebook page
with thousands of followers, there are many small companies whose
efforts lead to nothing.
Rather than social functionality, most buyers of CRM chose
integration of Outlook, Gmail, or calendar apps.
The most advantageous feature of a CRM was the automation of
group calendars and tasks based on your customers.
9. LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD
It used to be software was categorized as “enterprise” or “small
business”, cloud software is becoming the great equalizer. Software
that was only available to large companies is now available to
everyone, e.g. Salesforce.com has a single-user license.
This trend will continue to speed up.
Again an expert is necessary in order to make sense of the very
10. INCREASING SECURITY AWARENESS
While the cloud brings tremendous advantages, it also brings outside
attack. Businesses of all sizes must pay more attention then ever to
security. But don’t take a tech-only approach.
Employee training in particularly important and it pays dividends.
Showing a few PowerPoint slides over lunch time doesn’t do it. Regular
and repeated training, followed by simulated attacks. Over a few weeks,
you will find employees messing up will drop to near zero. It is never zero
– so the need to remain vigilant remains.
“Think before you click”
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