Size doesn’t matter anymore, the over-riding lesson we are learning worldwide is that a business that gets ahead of the curve is a smart one, not necessarily a big one.
The technology curve at present is all about the cloud and the possibilities it brings. When it comes to harnessing ICT, times have never been better for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) across Europe to transform their business and become as innovative and competitive as their larger counterparts. SMBs can now exploit the economies of scale offered by cloud computing, giving them affordable access to sophisticated computing resources previously available only to large companies. It’s all about increasing productivity by becoming as ‘elastic’ as possible as an organization, without incurring dramatic costs. Cloud computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for a SMB, compared to the alternative of running its own IT system as recent research shows.
The benefits are obvious, but will SMBs embrace the opportunities of the cloud? The good news is that SMB adoption of paid cloud services is growing. This is according to Microsoft Communications Sector’s annual global SMB Cloud Adoption Study findings which have been released. 39 percent of SMBs expect to be paying for one or more cloud services within three years, which is an increase of 34 percent from today (29 percent). On average, those using paid cloud services will be using 3.4 services, which is an increase from 2.0 services today. When looking at the global SME bracket, we see a clear trend towards a hybrid infrastructure model: In three years 43 percent of workloads will become paid cloud services, 28 percent will remain on-premise, and 29 percent will be free or bundled with other services.
The role of SMBs is twofold: both as users and as developers of technology, SMBs will drive adoption and innovation of cloud services, which will in turn stimulate further evolution of the industry and growth of the European economy underlined by recent studies such as the Irish Economic Report on Growth and Competiveness are showing. This is particularly important as Europe is climbing out of the crater left by the economic crisis. Flourishing entrepreneurialism with transformational technologies is fueling the engine of growth for Europe, with SMEs representing more than 99 percent of all businesses and employing more than 90 million people in Europe. I believe there is huge potential for cloud technology to accelerate both the business opportunities for the ICT industry as well as for SMEs in Europe.
When visiting European countries I see a lot of compelling examples of how SMEs are gaining advantages from the cloud, such as the Swedish Red Cross, the Belgium-based sport service provider Chronorace and Dutch fashion online community JUSTPROUD, which is a member of the Microsoft BizSpark programme. BizSpark helps early stage start-ups by providing them with free software, business technology support, and market visibility in their early days, just when they need it most. Check out my webcast embedded in this post to see firsthand how these SMEs are transforming their businesses with Microsoft Cloud technologies.
Learn more about the SMB Cloud Adoption Study at Microsoft's EMEA Press Centre