IBM for Midsize Businesses

IBM for Midsize Businesses

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Ed

Are SMBs embracing all that cloud has to offer?

Vice President, B2B Marketing, Samsung Electronics America

We are seeing a significant shift in how small and midsize businesses (SMB) are consuming technologies through the cloud-- whether it is a small regional bank hosting its mobile applications for engaging consumers who want to do their banking anywhere, anytime or a small healthcare provider who wants to bring efficiency with the utmost security with patient records on the cloud or a retailer gleaning insight from massive amounts of social media data to better understand the individual consumer. SMBs are seeing the importance of moving to the cloud and how it can enable them to not only become efficient but open up new opportunities.

But are all SMBs taking full advantage of this opportunity? If not, where do they begin?

Click the "Comment" button in this discussion now and share any examples of how clients are using cloud in new ways to grow their business, best practices where cloud is helping drive innovation and how business partners can play a key role. Also, please let us know of any trends that you see for 2013 around cloud. You can also leave the group a question.

I look forward to reading your views and to continuing our conversation.

Ed Abrams
Vice President, IBM Global Business Partners & Midmarket

  • Comment (17)
  • October 24, 2012
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Comments

  • Sabharinath B.

    Sabharinath

    Sabharinath B.

    Research Manager - Enterprise Applications

    In the APAC region, there is a lot of skepticism about hosting apps and data on the cloud. Not all SMBs are confident about cloud based apps, due to reasons ranging from data privacy and security, federal regulations, etc.

    I've seen quite a few SMBs embracing cloud by hosting internal apps (payroll, HCM, etc.) on the cloud first and then moving on to apps that contain client confidential data. In most cases, this is more of an exercise to build confidence about data security and privacy issues.

  • Steve O.

    Steve

    Steve O.

    Partner

    Cloud adoption is very variable and my experience is that there are a number of key drivers:

    * Company size - smaller firms are adopting cloud faster than larger firms
    * Geographic distribution - firms where the management and staff are in many locations find many of the characteristics of cloud suit their operating model very well
    * Firms where employees are highly mobile love the ubiquity and connectivity of cloud
    * Firms where agility and speed of response is a critical success factor find the flexibility of cloud compelling
    * Those firms that need to scale up and down due to seasonality or other business drivers can find the elasticity of cloud useful

    Sabharinath is absolutely correct when he states that in many cases commodity applications such as email, document management and communications are being migrated first. However extremely critical applications such as CRM, ERP and salesforce management are being adopted quickly as these really appeal to mobile workers.

  • Karthik B.

    Karthik

    Karthik B.

    Senior Solutions Consultant at Virtual Instruments

    The "S" in the SMB is adopting Cloud faster than the "M". I think this is partially because Cloud has given smaller businesses access to IT assets that they did not have before. But, larger businesses still enjoy returns from their traditional IT investments. Call it "legacy drag"?

  • Andrew

    Andrew M.

    Making Technology Commercialisation Happen

    With what we see at WinWeb cloud computing apps are being adopted by micro firms for the same reasons that Karthik and Steve have cited, however, more recently we are seeing a bigger interest from the medium size business. Integration of different applications has been crucial as well as the migration from legacy systems which medium enterprises have been using for some time. With the global economy being in the position it is then we see the adoption of the cloud is growing as those same high growth businesses need to find ways of operating more efficiently with more affordable applications which can be customised to suit their needs, culture and DNA. There is still lots more work for us all to do but you also have to remember the IT guys need to embrace the cloud more fully and to advise their CEO's accordingly and not simply find ways to avoid.

  • Leron P.

    Leron

    Leron P.

    Vice President at 1800flowers.com

    We are seeing the SMB market embrace cloud computing, more specifically that offered by Managed Service Providers, mostly because they are hearing of the benefits that other SMBs are getting from such service. Things like:
    - Gaining access to support with expertise across wide variety of technologies
    - Getting higher level of business continuity capabilities in case of disaster
    - Eliminatig the need for internal staff to manage general maintenance and system support
    - Allowing internal staff to focus on strategic initiatives
    - Realizing lower total cost of ownership compared to in-house hosting requiring large hardware investments and an on-going resource support

    Once SMBs pass the hurdle of accepting the reality of cloud computing, they quickly learn to take advantage of all the benefits that it has to offer.

  • Howard B.

    Howard

    Howard B.

    Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Hudson Valley Bank

    The "cloud" (in all its loosly defined variations), can provide SMBs a means to compete against larger firms. These solutions are usually scalably priced so you pay for what you need, are quicker to deploy, and often provide services that would be difficult to support with a smaller staff. One fo the most important keys to being successful is selecting the right partner... one you can trust to run a piece of your business in the longer term.

  • Karen H.

    Karen

    Karen H.

    Sales & Marketing Professional | Corporate Recruiting & Workforce Management | Open to New Career Opportunities

    Steve you are spot on! We are seeing the same comments in our 3rd party white papers where smaller firms are migrating faster than larger SMB companies. I think companies with larger IT departments also feel a sense of loyalty to the people they have, and that also contributes to the lag - in today's economy, many companies don't want to lay off workers who have been with them a long time.

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