Advantages of the cloud for small businesses

By

We’ve regularly talked about the proven advantages of computing in a cloud environment. By now, we’re guessing you’re pretty familiar with the litany of cloud computing advantages: no CapEx costs, fixed OpEx costs, the ability to scale your infrastructure to quickly meet your changing requirements—allowing you to focus your internal resources on your core capabilities while outsourcing IT functions to an external expert, and more.

But this time, let’s take it one step further. A recent CRN article quoted a study of 400 small and medium-sized businesses, which found that small and medium businesses using cloud applications could reduce costs, improve cash flow and increase employee productivity. That last part is something most studies have tended to overlook.

If you think about it for a second, it makes sense: cloud-based business apps deliver the kind of benefits that only the largest companies could traditionally access in the past. For instance, think about Salesforce.com; it’s a complete CRM system delivered by the cloud. It’s available at a cost that just about any company can afford and they’re increasingly recognizing it: 55 percent of the companies surveyed are using cloud-based CRM, up from just 24 percent two years ago.

The article says that more than half of the SMBs queried (54%) are using cloud-based project management apps, with almost exactly half (49%) taking advantage of business analytics/business intelligence delivered on a SaaS basis.  If you’d said, even several years ago, that SMBs were able to take advantage of business intelligence applications, you’d have been laughed out of the building. The costs were simply too prohibitive for all but top-tier organizations.

And how about the last time your company used Skype or another web-based video conferencing tool to connect distant offices or to speak with your clients?

Companies now routinely rely on the cloud to do their work more productively, and that reliance grows every day.  With data centers nationwide, and 115,000 miles of fiber located around the country, we’re proud to say that Windstream is one of the major factors in making it all happen. We’ve grown significantly in the past couple of years with a strong focus on unifying business communications.  From voice and data to the network and the cloud, we’re helping millions of people do their jobs more effectively. We’re particularly proud of the role we play in helping smaller businesses meet their customers’ needs and fulfill their vision; having our head in the cloud helps them clearly see where they’re going.