I recently visited a typical German company with 220 employees and 45 million Euros in revenues. According to the EU definition, this is a classic SMB (small and medium business) company. According to the same definition, 99 percent of all German companies are SMBs.
A major challenge for these companies is adapting to changing demand and changing markets. Every investment has to be planned carefully. IT is often a major consideration here. Up until now, IT departments needed to calculate their top workload and then buy enough machinery to handle it. Most of the time, however, large portions of the IT infrastructure were not being fully utilized. In fact they lay quite idle. The situation improved somewhat with virtualization. However, on-site infrastructure still dictated the limits.
Today’s markets are more dynamic than ever. New opportunities may arise quickly but the window only opens for a short time. But SMBs are often limited by the availability of human and financial resources, especially in times of growth. Or they may fear to seize a growth opportunity because they cannot foresee whether it will be worth the investment.
Cloud services are the perfect solution for overcoming these limitations. IT is no longer a straitjacket for your business; you can choose the solution that suits you best. Cloud computing brings the flexibility you need to adjust quickly to fast-changing circumstances and oversized workloads. Besides an increase in flexibility, cloud users benefit from more efficiency and more reliability. You do not have to bother about the question of capacity – cloud services are scalable. Whenever you need more resources, you can enable them virtually within minutes – worldwide. And since the provider takes care of hardware maintenance and operation, you can take this task off your list as well. The most important feature of cloud services is, however, that you can pay as you grow (and cut costs easily when you downsize)!
Cloud services will provide a lot of relief to an SMB, no question. But a proportional amount of effort should go into the evaluation phase. Finding the right partner – one who speaks your language, understands your needs, with whom you feel good – is essential to really profiting from cloud services. Make sure that the service your provider offers is highly adaptive and that the provider himself can adapt quickly to changing needs. All that’s left to do then is to make sure that your cloud provider has fulfilled all the SLAs – and concentrate on your business opportunities. And that’s not only true in Germany but in practically every country on the globe.