NEXTDC Strategy Guide Cloud services gathers momentum with SMB’s

Amidst the cloud hyperbole lies an Australian market, untapped and open to innovation.

As cloud computing matures, adoption is sweeping across the SMB spectrum, carving out pockets of growth and opportunity for managed service providers and channel partners.

Cloud computing, and all it encompasses, has traditionally been labelled an enterprise endeavour, a technology applicable exclusively to large scale organisations.

Throughout Australia, such sentiment has gained momentum following the local migrations of Australian Red Cross to Microsoft Azure and Suncorp to Amazon Web Services, as relevant case studies flood the market.

For awareness of cloud services is growing within the small business community, a community that houses over two million companies in Australia, with over 300,000 new entrants to the market per year.

“Anecdotally, yes adoption is rising,” says Joseph Smith, Director of Cloud, Optus, when assessing SMB cloud acceleration in Australia.

Cloud is an attractive option for a small enterprise starting up, and the market is taking a more strategic look at linear business models.

“Perhaps this may be connected to a generational change and the notion that younger people appear more comfortable with not owning assets, and data living in the cloud fits within that mindset.”

While the Australian technology space agrees that cloud computing is evolving beyond enterprise, current market literature is littered with anti-cloud narratives for SMBs, built around common challenges of cost control, security and unawareness.

Findings from BCSG Research however highlight that awareness of cloud services is growing within the small business community, with 64 percent of SMBs across the world already using cloud-based software.

With the average number of cloud-based applications currently in use amongst SMBs at three - and expected to rise further in 2016 - findings indicate that 78 percent of SMBs are considering purchasing new solutions within the next 2-3 years, shifting the average number of applications used to seven, with 88 percent consuming at least one service.

From a cloud perspective in a SMB context, such levels of adoption will see the cloud-based software market grow by over 70 percent from 2015 to 2017.

In assisting customer migrations to the cloud, CTO Tom Berryman of ‘ground-to-cloud’ service provider Connectivity IT believes that as IT becomes more embedded into a business strategy, companies of all sizes - ranging from SMB to enterprise - are recognising the benefits of utilising a managed services offering.

Berryman says his team must often overcome negative attitudes and previous poor experiences to improve IT adoption in the businesses they serve. As a result, Connectivity IT helps manage cultural change as part of their service, uncovering that success is not about low cost rather better service and value for customers.