The benefits and widespread adoption of cloud computing isn’t just for enterprises and government agencies; its transformative impact is bringing about big changes to small businesses as well. A recent study by Emergent Research, ‘Small Business Success in the Cloud,’ describes the impact of cloud technology as it becomes increasingly adopted among the small business community.
According to the study, the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing is expected to grow by more than half by the year 2020, from 37% to nearly 80%. It is clear that small businesses are becoming more aware of the benefits cloud technology has on improving efficiency as well as its ability to help transform their approach to the overall business.
In addition, the study presents four emergent “personas” of small businesses who have fully adapted the cloud:
- Plug-in Players: Small businesses will increasingly adapt to the cloud by taking advantage of specialized services that can be seamlessly integrated into back-office operations. Cloud-adapted small businesses will plug into cloud-based providers who deliver comprehensive, tailored solutions, giving small business operators the ability to focus on mission-critical areas of business.
- Hives: Cloud-adapted small businesses will increasingly be made up of individuals who share talent to form a team. These businesses will operate virtually, with employees working in different locations, and staffing levels will be increasingly flexible, rising and falling to meet project needs.
- Head-to-Headers: A growing number of cloud-adapted small businesses will compete head-to-head with major firms, using the growing number of platforms and plug-in services to reach markets once only accessible to large corporations.
- Portfolioists: Successful cloud-adapted freelancers will bring together multiple income streams to create a career portfolio. They will increasingly build personal “empires” in the cloud, finding previously unseen opportunities for revenue generation. A great example would be freelancers
These personas not only demonstrate how the cloud is creating a new era of opportunity for entrepreneurs, but also highlights how cloud computing is easing the barriers of entry in starting or growing a business. The lesson for companies is clear: those who don’t adopt the cloud risk being left behind.