Category: , ,  /  December 12th 2014

In the last ten years small businesses have seen their working lives transformed, thanks to developments made possible by the cloud. Yet many big brands are only just noticing these shifts and have been slow to adapt their services in response. This is partly the result of a lack of understanding in just how different the day-to-day running of a small business can be with the online support that’s now available through the cloud.

The way it used to be

In the early days of IT, systems were made for the big businesses that could afford them. These might then be adapted for smaller companies, but the resulting solutions were often cumbersome, expensive and not fit for purpose.

That wasn’t the only thing holding small businesses back. Typically, their office set-up might have included:

  • a server (the size of a fridge freezer),
  • a tape drive to back up the server,
  • a huge desktop computer,
  • expensive software packages,
  • a slow internet connection,
  • and so on.

It required significant investment and tied people to the office, while its complexity meant specialist support was a must-have, and some services were simply out of reach.

Making the connections

Fast-forward ten years and we’re all benefiting from the revolution in connectivity that the cloud and portable devices have brought about: we truly are ‘always on’. Big business is benefitting from these advances of course, but it’s possible to argue that small businesses are by far the bigger winners.

Accounting packages, marketing solutions, HR support, legal advice, business planning, collaborative working systems, project management: all these services are now available online. They can be paid for either monthly or annually with upgrades included, and provide different levels of access to keep key details private. As a result, small businesses are getting skilled up and can be far more efficient, doing more with less.

While cloud-based services do demand a change in long-established habits, once embraced they can transform work – and life. They:

  • enable flexible working
  • require no upfront cost
  • empower owners to make informed decisions
  • fill skill gaps
  • reduce reliance on external advisers
  • and free up admin time which can be better spent focusing on the business itself.

There are plenty more developments ahead, but already it can be hard to tell the actions of a start-up from one of its larger competitors. For big business to continue offering relevant services to its small business customers, brands need to understand the profound changes that are taking place in the sector.

If you’d like to get to understand more about these changes that are affecting your small business customers, why not read our report on The New Age of Small Business


sabbir ahmed

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