Why is there so much talk about Cloud and the benefits it offers to small businesses? It has been heralded as up and coming for several years now and you could say it has well and truly arrived.

So is now the time to get yourself a cloud strategy for your SME or is it too late?

And how do you address the fact that each business area of your company has its own specific requirements which need to be met if SMEs are to grow?

Well, to start, forget about getting yourself a cloud strategy for the moment – first and foremost you need a business strategy.  Without a business strategy you will flounder.

Your business strategy will help you to understand what you need to grow, the business processes your company currently operates and it will also highlight any shortfalls.

Now you need to look for the software applications in the market that offer the best fit for your business process needs.

Whilst you’re looking at software you also need to answer a number of other questions such as:

  • What hardware will I need?
  • What are the ongoing maintenance costs for  the solution
  • How long will it take to get the software up and running?
  • What happens when we grow?
  • Will I need to employ more people to run and maintain the software
  • Can the business really afford this Capex outlay?

This is where Cloud starts to come in as you see the benefits it has over on-premise deployments – benefits that include:

  • No new hardware required to deploy the solution
  • Upgrades are more seamless and covered by the monthly subscription fee
  • Can cut deployment times by up to 50%, thereby reducing the costs involved.
  • When you grow you just bring on more licences.  Remember, however,  if you need to licences can be turned off if they’re not being used.
  • Quite often there is no need for an IT manager to manage the solution
  • Because the solution is provided on a subscription basis, it comes out of Opex budgets      and you always know what your liability is.

So what you end up with is a cloud strategy that flows directly out of your business strategy – in the right order. And when business processes run smoothly and in harmony with each other like this, it allows companies to concentrate on what they do best – growing.

Cloud solutions such as SAP’s Business ByDesign offer companies the ability to deploy an integrated solution and pay a monthly subscription.  SAP Business ByDesign, developed specifically for the SME market, enables companies to take advantage of 40 years of best practice management of business processes. It enables companies to benefit from a 360o degree view of their business processes through finance, marketing, human resources, procurement, supplier and customer relationship management greatly enhancing their ability and agility to make decisions based on accurate, up to the minute data.