A walk through the Window and into The Cloud (For the SMEs)
The IT industry seems to relish the use of metaphors – Windows and Cloud – proof that we can tap into our left brains at will. Some will argue that those two words should never appear alongside each other in the same sentence (discussion for another day and forum)
Before the Window (Opportunity)
Unless your business had the financial muscle to purchase, upfront, technology and associated peripherals that only fit through the doors – forget it.
Meaning: You as the business owner were restricted to ‘Acting Small’.
After Microsoft Windows
As an SME business owner you could now ‘Act Big’ – Think of the liberating benefits that were brought about by Microsoft Excel’s spreadsheets, from the relative ease of managing stock, scheduling of staff, monitoring sales and cost monitoring through to suppliers and clients relationship management.
Commercial Effect: Your business could henceforth connect/reach its customer base (remember it’s all about the customers) in ways that were never before commercially viable.
Before ‘The Cloud’
Businesses walked through the window (opportunity) and found themselves in the open. Software and hardware were under capital expenditure (CAPEX). Not only did your business have to pay upfront, but also often. For example, every new staff member would require their own software license (usually annually charged). If the staff member moved on before the year’s end - forget license transfers – a new license would be required for the newer team member.
Equipment like servers were a one size fits many, think of shopping for a shirt/blouse - small, regular, medium. If it fits, well and good – consider yourself a model. If it doesn’t then one could always shed or add weight and alter their height and/or body type ( good luck with the last two).
Operation expenditure (OPEX). Now that your business ‘owns’ the license and equipment (servers), what happens to their maintenance? Simple, in-house IT department or outsourcing IT services.
After ‘The Cloud’
Hurray – the sky is now the limit. IT expenditure can now comfortably move from CAPEX to OPEX.
More importantly you and your staff members now have the platform for collaborating effectively and truly acting as a team. Remember that previously only one person, at a time, could work (edit) a spreadsheet – the rest became spectators.
Work-life balance – A win-win for both the team members and the business. Practical and commercial considerations can now be relatively easily met.
Consumer engagement – Consumers jumped into the cloud before businesses did. So now your business can timely and pro-actively engage with the consumer/client community that keep you in business.