Is the Cloud Right for Your Mid-Market Business?

January 27, 2011   //   Cloud

Cloud computing is one of the hottest topics in technology today, so this is probably one of the most frequently asked questions we hear today. While many of our mid-market customers are moving forward with some level of adoption, others are still evaluating the pros and cons. So how will you know if it’s right for your business?

Let’s take a look at five benefits of the cloud and see how it fits with your business processes, objectives and goals:

Scalability. At the heart of the cloud concept is the notion of consumption. Whether it’s processing power, storage or user access, the cloud allows your business to respond instantly. The alternative approach—delivering the same solution on-premise—typically takes much more time to plan, implement and manage. In some cases, the benefit of scalability can go in both directions; it’s not always about scaling up as much as scaling down.

More Nimble, Proactive Market Response. In order to “catch the wave” of a marketing trend or fad, marketers typically needed to have technology systems in place long ahead of time to create and capture demand. But today’s trends are a moving target, so the ramp time required to put systems in place often mean that your business may miss prime opportunities to market your products or solutions. Cloud computing removes those barriers.

Starbucks, for example, used cloud technology to develop a website promoting volunteerism in just four weeks, timed around Obama’s inauguration. On the first day alone, the system handled 3,000,000 hits.

Stronger Financial Management. Preserving capital and managing cash flow are at the heart of any business. In many cases, the cloud will enable organizations to “pay as they go” for a fraction of the budget they would need to acquire, install and maintain infrastructure assets.

A great example is Microsoft Exchange Online, only because the math is so easy. To set up and maintain Exchange on-premise for 100 users is easily tens of thousands of dollars. Now Microsoft offers Exchange online for five dollars per user, per month. Online Exchange may not make sense for your organization but for many, the benefits of the cloud from a cash flow or capital perspective is clear.

Increased User Adoption. In many cases, it’s easier for customers to commit to a solution or technology if the cost is subscription oriented as the financial risk is typically infinitely smaller. Frequently the ability to trial or pilot the solution is a given in a cloud / SAAS model. Many times the cloud model includes a common community, such as NetSuite or, which is more likely to adopt a solution tailored for that particular cloud environment.

Lower Development Risk and Greater Flexibility. Before the cloud, I might have to spend thousands of dollars to create a new software product—before I even have my first customer. Today the cloud makes it possible for me to create a solution, take it to market and only pay for the licensed technology as my customer subscribes to my solution. You preserve capital from a hardware perspective as more software publishers such as Microsoft provide programs that allow for licensing costs to be transferred to the end-user subscription.

If your business is considering cloud technology, Chicago IT consultants SWC can help you with everything from evaluation and migration of existing applications to writing new applications for the cloud. You can contact meor call (630) 286-8173 to learn more. We also offer several knowledge events and webinars focused on cloud technology for the mid-market; visit our events page now to find one that works for you.