Source: Alcatel-Lucent SMB
Cloud computing – in other words, everything as a service delivered digitally – is fundamentally changing business operations, models and markets. How will your business adapt?
Consider the example of Uber. We are witnessing rapid and disruptive penetration into the well established and protected trade of taxi services. Perhaps even more amazing is that Uber doesn’t own cars. Yet Uber is turning the industry upside down to the point of creating riots.
Redefining the rules of operation and scale
Uber is just one example of how digital-DNA companies are seizing new opportunities to define themselves and their business models without the overhead of traditional market rules or capital investment. Uber’s business model was not possible a decade ago. Today however, technology has changed the playing field, and Uber has changed the rules of the industry.
The delivery of business technology is shifting fundamentally from physical to virtual, from CAPEX to OPEX and from all-or-nothing to a-la-carte. That’s good news, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses that traditionally find capital investment for rapid expansion both difficult and risky. It is also helping these same smaller companies maintain focus on their core business because new subscription models do not require the same human and capital resources of premise-based tools.
Digital on demand – big advantages for small business
A recent study by Germany’s EWE Tel of over 400 companies revealed that scalability, availability and access to hosted infrastructure are big drivers in the shift to the cloud. According to EWE Tel’s Norbert Steinhauser, there are two primary factors that identify those businesses adopting some form of cloud –based model. One of them is the size of the business. According to Steinhauser, “A small organization typically doesn’t have the manpower” to deploy, manage and maintain premise-based infrastructure. Hosted service examples – such as telephony, unified communications or customer relationship management – enable any business to define their needs and contract the tools and expertise as a service. These same services can be adjusted for changing business conditions, and in many cases the changing needs of an individual.
The type of business also influences the value of current cloud models. Not every business needs a complete unified communications suite, or scalable data center capacity. Steinhauser cites an example from the EWE Tel study of a meat processing plant in Germany that has 150 telephone lines with 30 people working in administration but has only four customers. The meat processing plant’s “necessity for communications is very limited,” says Steinhauser. “Now, compare that to any media company or a bank. Of course, they’ll have a lot more communication requirements, even if they’re the same size.”
The agility and scale available from “technology as a service,” means that new tools and features can be enabled quickly with ease and elasticity. By reducing, or even eliminating, the operational overhead of legacy CAPEX investments, shifting resources and focusing on meeting customer expectations and growing your business is a competitive advantage in any market. And the value of such a shift is magnified for a small business.
Charles Darwin’s evolution theory has been applied to the current digital transformation underway today. According to Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Digital Darwinism is here and the attrition rate of those unable to adapt is growing. Now is the time to explore how to benefit from new technologies and delivery models.