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Cloud Computing Is Big Business for Small Biz

The IT industry isn’t seeing eye-to-eye on the cloud just yet, but you can’t ignore the recent glut of information coming from all corners touting the benefits of cloud computing – particularly for smaller businesses.

A recent study by AMI predicts that the cloud’s share of SMB (small and midsize business) budgets will rise to 15 percent by 2015 with smaller businesses buying multiple, packaged cloud services rather than going about it one at a time. According to AMI, nearly 40 percent of U.S. SMBs are interested in bundling multiple hosted infrastructure and remotely managed services, while less than 10 percent of these companies only want a single service. The technical and operational complexities of bringing multiples solutions (vendors) into a cloud environment further solidifies the role of the VAR (and distribution) in cloud computing.

Next, check out some survey data from Verio. It shows that even though a large measure of SMBs aren’t certain if they’ll buy a cloud solution in the near future, many of these folks believe the opportunity to share and access resources on demand—both major benefits of the cloud—is important to their businesses. Given a suitable cloud education, a good portion of the SMBs surveyed say they’ll adopt a cloud solution in the next year.

And, some recent data from Forrester Research indicates that SMBs are buying cloud-based backup rather than on-premise solutions to protect their companies’ data because they’re more at ease with the security, favorable speed and ease of deployment. Security has long been a barrier standing in the way of cloud adoption by SMBs, but those concerns are steadily dissipating.

While the results of those surveys show growing SMB interest in the cloud and willingness to allocate money and resources in that direction, there’s a larger idea at work here that is going to make all the difference.

Cloud Solutions Save Money

From a business perspective, with cloud computing you can help SMBs access, deploy and benefit from the same computing resources and services previously reserved for large enterprises, saving substantial amounts of money in the process. This judicious IT spending also opens up budgets to re-allocate funds to other areas of your customers’ business, such as marketing and customer service –two vital functions that often frame and define success—as well as new technologies.  That’s good news for any small business.

Another key area of cloud computing that nobody really wants to discuss is downtime.  The reality is it happens and you shouldn’t let isolated episodes of outages, such as what recently occurred with Amazon, scare you or your customers off the cloud. While Amazon’s downtime was nobody’s idea of a good time and it did point out that cloud solutions, just like on-premise solutions, aren’t immune to  problems, the cost of fixing a broken on-premise solution or employing an internal IT team pales by comparison for an SMB.

As a VAR or MSP, you are in the business of ensuring uptime for your customers and when outages do occur, and they will, you’ll be there to get the network back on track -- just like you’ve been for years prior.

New Opportunities in the Making

Now with so many channel partners moving to the cloud, SMBs are in an advantageous and nearly fail-safe position to adopt the technology, knowing they have a trusted advisor to protect their interests. Many of you are already seeing that rather than the cloud spelling your doom, it is giving you new revenue opportunities and opening up markets for new business.

In addition, as more vendors offer cloud certification programs to you, the comfort level of your customers and prospects will rise accordingly, with the assurance that they will be afforded the best possible service and support from their cloud experience.

The take-away is this: Adoption of cloud computing among SMBs is growing faster than the enterprise and the cost savings inherent to the cloud not only benefit your customers, but also bring more opportunity for you to earn incremental revenue by freeing up budget for spend in other areas of the business, including IT.

Jason Bystrak is director of sales for the Ingram Micro Services Division, where he plays a key role in expanding the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace (www.ingrammicrocloud.com). Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

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