We know small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They typically have annual revenues less than $5 million and rely on information technology to stay competitive in the marketplace. The cloud is one way small business owners can leverage information technology capabilities without having to purchase expensive hardware or software licenses, but small businesses need guidance when it comes to cloud services. If you’re a small business owner who wants to move your small business into the cloud, here are five easy steps for how you can optimize your small business’ cloud solutions:
1. Work with a Cloud Expert
A typical small business cannot effectively manage all aspects of its cloud solution; therefore, hiring a qualified technology team that includes an experienced professional may be key. This person will help ensure that you are choosing the best cloud solutions for small businesses’ unique challenges and goals .
2. Know Your Needs
Matching small businesses to cloud services is like matching shoes with an outfit. Not every shoe goes with every outfit, but understanding what you need your information technology solutions to accomplish will help narrow down what fits into your solution stack. Ask yourself: What do I want my small business to be able to achieve? How do small business apps interoperate with each other? What features matter most (i.e., security)? Before starting any small business cloud implementation project, it’s important to take stock of your current environment through discovery and planning phases. This allows you to identify resource requirements for both existing on-prem applications as well as new cloud solutions.
3. Know Your Goals
Why do you want to move your small business into the cloud? What are your small business’ goals for this transition, and what metrics will you use to measure success? Small businesses can typically choose from a few common cloud computing options: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service or Infrastructure as a Service. Understanding small business’ short-term and long-term small business goals, along with small business needs, will help determine which type of cloud solution is right for small businesses.
4. Understand the Pros and Cons
Procuring small business cloud services is not like buying office furniture; although it’s important to understand small business needs, it’s equally important to understand the small business cloud pros and cons. When working with a trusted small business cloud services provider, small businesses can identify and quantify small business pros and cons through in-depth discussions about:
- Compliance concerns that may affect small businesses in specific industries (i.e., healthcare)
- Objectives around up-time requirements which will dictate service level agreements
- Agility for small businesses who need to make quick decisions when small business critical apps become non-compliant or fail
Small businesses must strike a balance between weighing small business needs versus small business technology capabilities to make the best choice for their unique situation.
5. Get the Right Resources
Once small businesses have made their decisions, small business cloud services providers must be ready to deliver. From downloading software that will help small businesses manage costs, to providing a dedicated account representative and customer service team. It’s important to ensure a strong cultural fit for your small business.
When you work with a trusted cloud partner, they can also assist in evaluating cloud solutions from multiple vendors so you don’t have to worry about making the wrong choice or missing out on an opportunity. They can act as an internal advocate for your small business when necessary by helping negotiate contracts and ensuring compliance is at the forefront of each solution implementation.
Above all else, make sure you choose a solution that has a deep understanding of your small business unique needs.