Can Small to Medium Sized Businesses Benefit from the Cloud?
Is cloud computing strictly for large enterprises, or can small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), including manufacturers, benefit from the technology?
On the IBM blog site www.thoughtsoncloud.com, Maks Strajher ponders the topic, wondering if the only benefit the cloud can offer these smaller companies is cost reduction. Or are there other reasons to embrace the technology?
There are some mitigating circumstances. SMBs, Strajher says, usually don’t have a fully skilled IT staff to maintain the IT environment and so rely on solutions from VARS that have been arrived at with little input from internal IT. SMBs are also in no position to explore IT innovation as they struggle just to keep up with the company’s core business requirements.
Given this state of affairs, the cloud does have a number of desirable services such as: a pay as you go business model; the ability to implement service level agreements (SLAs) to everyone’s satisfaction; access to a wide range of applications; complete IT management; scalability; and the ability to access services independent of location.
The blog concludes by saying, “For SMBs, public cloud computing makes the following sentence meaningful: “Do what you are doing the best and outsource the rest.” In this case, SMBs can purchase the services from a cloud provider when they need services and for how long they need them.”
From a digital manufacturing perspective, in addition to the benefits mentioned above, the cloud provides a portal into the use of advanced manufacturing techniques such as modeling and simulation – including computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis.