As IT consultants and integrators transition toward becoming strategic service providers (SSPs) for their customers, the importance of cloud computing is becoming increasingly evident. Still, some businesses are struggling to embrace cloud computing, unwilling to go from have data stored off-premise, rather than down the hall, or "on-prem."
As the digital industry has grown, such businesses are struggling with scaling, flexibility and customer visibility. Cloud computing provides economies of scale, which leads to improved cash flow — vital for any size company, but a perennial issue for small ones in particular.
How to convince your reluctant customer it's time to climb onto the cloud?
Flexibility. The cloud lets businesses scale up or down by drawing on remote servers when needed. That is especially important for those that are dependent on seasonal sales.
Cost savings. While your customers might think they'll miss being able to walk "down the hall" to their data center, moving to the cloud means not only extra room at the main facility, but also a team of people that will roll out software updates and do other system maintenance. In addition, customers pay as they go, using a subscription-based model that is budget-friendly to cash flow. Plus, it creates a recurring revenue stream for SSPs.
Disaster Recovery. If all the sales data — including backups — is on-premise, in the event of a fire, flood or other disaster, everything is lost. Many small businesses cannot recover from the physical damage compounded by the data loss. The cloud provides safe, off-prem storage and services. Aberdeen has reported that, ironically, small businesses that use the cloud for DR use it more wisely than their larger counterparts — but small companies are more likely than others to have no DR plan at all.
More sales. Moving to the cloud can help retailers reap more revenue. A recent study by CloudCraze and Salesforce found that cloud-based eCommerce systems realize higher sales over shorter periods of time than their legacy system counterparts: "More than 40% of cloud-based system users reported over half of their total sales are happening online, compared to only 13% of on-premise system users. Of those on-premise users, almost 60% had been selling goods online for more than five years, while only 30% of cloud-based users had been online for that long, proving that working on the cloud better allows businesses to foster growth in digital sales."
Clearly, there is a middle sector of companies who understand why the cloud is critical, but do not employ it because they do not have the time, money or expertise to invest in it. Those reasons are also the key benefits of engaging strategic service providers specializing in cloud solutions.