SMEs (Small and Medium-size Enterprises) are using Cloud, but are they using it differently to larger enterprises? Recently we published a blog (Cloud – Cost Saving Tool or Platform to Innovate?) that took a look at a recent research study by Accenture, which surveyed some 4,000 executives and concluded that their companies fell into two categories: those that viewed Cloud as “…a launch pad for innovation and new operating models.”, and those that see it as a tool for cost saving and operational efficiency.
What caught my eye was that they found that only 12-15% were in the first category. At Flexiion MSP we talk to a lot of tech enabled businesses, many of which are SMEs, about their Cloud aspirations and challenges, but I don’t recall any firm, ever, telling us that their motivation for deploying Cloud was anything but innovation and new business models.
How could that be? Well, we’re obviously talking to a different group from those 4,000 executives contacted by Accenture. We are unashamedly focused on ambitious tech enabled teams, often going to market with new propositions, although some are raw start-ups still shaping their ideas and a few are multi-nationals. All are focused on the business of innovation and market opportunity. By comparison, Accenture refers to “….3M, Carlsberg, Siemens, Roche and Starbucks are pre-cloud businesses that have gone beyond migrating and into innovating using cloud technology”.
My take is that attitudes towards Cloud are driven substantially by culture and legacy. The SMEs we speak to are eager and firmly facing forward with little or no legacy. They have a “whatever it takes” attitude and see fast, competitive innovation as their route to winning customers and markets, and building their businesses.
These SMEs are almost always acutely cost conscious, with a firm existential eye on cashflow, but it’s the urge for innovation and flexibility that drives them forward. By comparison, it seems, many large organisations are like great flywheels that change only slowly, and have siloed thinking that tasks teams with aspects of business like cost saving or new product, rather than the do or die collective focus of the small teams inside SMEs.
I rather think that there will be a day in the future when the innovators will have innovated, and left the rest behind, and Cloud will have been instrumental in separating the quick from the dead.
Peter Osborn, Founder and Chairman, Flexiion MSP
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