In the era of technology acceleration, enterprises are heavily investing in their digital transformation of their process. This holds not only for large organizations, but for Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) as well. In most cases, the use of digital tools is more important for SMBs than it is for large enterprises, as these tools enable SMBs to remain agile and cost-efficient, and in several cases to complete globally without a need for significant capital investments. As a prominent example, on-line marketing platforms and tools (such as social media) help SMBs to disseminate their products and services to millions of potential customers, without any need to organize and staff expensive marketing departments. Likewise, cloud based storage services facilitate SMBs to manage information and critical assets regardless of time and location.
SMBs have to operate a number of IT services as means of supporting all of their business functions such as sales, marketing, finance, accounting, production, human resources and more. The deployment and operation of such services can incur significant costs when provided in-house, which is the reason why many SMBs opt to outsource their IT services. This is very common especially in the case of smaller companies (i.e. the so called micro SMBs), which lack the financial resources and equity capital needed to establish and maintain in-house IT departments.
While there are many different ways for outsourcing IT operations, nowadays IT outsourcing for SMBs is almost synonymous to cloud computing. Indeed, most SMBs leverage a range of cloud services in order to support their business processes. Likewise, the cloud computing services market is growing, as giant vendors are offering their services in the cloud, while most of the niche and innovative business services are cloud based as well. Cloud based outsourcing comes with a host of significant benefits for SMBs:
These benefits explain why the majority of SMBs deploy some sort of cloud based services. Nevertheless, there is also a downside to IT outsourcing in general and cloud computing in particular:
Also Read: Eight Common IT Outsourcing Mistakes to Avoid
The downside of the IT outsourcing leads several SMBs, notably the bigger ones, to maintain IT departments in-house, even though the trend is clearly towards leveraging cloud services as much as possible.
The most common cloud applications used by SMBs nowadays, include:
Note however that the use of the above cloud applications by SMBs, does not always mean that they fully outsource their IT operations. In several cases, SMBs dispose with hybrid scenarios, where some IT functions are hosted in-house and some other accessed in the cloud.
One way or the other, recent surveys report that more than 60% of companies outsource some of their IT functions, while more are planning to so in the next few years. In the future, the vast majority of SMBs will be cloud based. In the medium term we will see SMBs running most of their IT functions on the cloud. In the long term it’s likely to see a tighter integration of different cloud services towards the concept of “SMB in the cloud”. Cloud based IT outsourcing is coming soon to a theatre near you and you ‘d better be prepared to get the most out of it.
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