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Storm clouds in the horizon? The challenges facing SMBs adopting the Cloud

SMBs (Small & Medium Sized Businesses) have been early adopters of Cloud technologies  - particularly SaaS  (software as a service) applications.  According to market research firm TechAisle, SaaS penetration increased from 27% in 2011 to 58% in 2014 and reached 73% in 2016. It is expected that the figure will reach 94% by the end of 2017. Worldwide, 76% of SMBs are currently using SaaS applications.

However, these numbers belie the true adoption of the Cloud by SMBs. Typical candidates for Cloud adoption are productivity applications such as Email, Office suites and functional applications such as  They typically use 1-2 SaaS applications while a significant portion if their technology footprint remains on-premise. They continue using on-premise legacy line of business applications and they are circumspect about making a firm-wide transition to the Cloud. Unsurprisingly, SMBs face a multitude of challenges when they embark on such a journey. Bringing together infrastructure and applications from a portfolio of vendors is beset with integration challenges, feeling of a loss of control and increased complexity – leading to a damper on their ambitious Cloud transition plans.

SMBs can rest easy. By using a systematic & orchestrated approach, SMBs can successfully embark on their Cloud journeys.  Figure 1 highlights typical cloud adoption challenges.

Figure 1 : Challenges facing SMBs transitioning to the Cloud

We have identified 6 categories of challenges that SMBs typically face while embarking on a major transition to the Cloud. By addressing these challenges in a systematic and orchestrated manner, SMBs can successfully achieve a firm-wide transition to the Cloud.

Cloud Economics

Before embarking on a major transition to the Cloud, it is important to establish that the economics and the operating model are compelling to the relevant stakeholders by identifying and quantifying potential benefits that can accrue either through cost savings or the flexibility/agility enabled by the Cloud.

Function/Process adaptability

Once the economics for the Cloud transition has been established, a function or process benchmarking exercise can highlight candidates that will lend themselves to an easier Cloud transition than other. Go for the low hanging fruit.  Also, Organizations must aim to identify non-standard processes within the organization and take relevant steps to standardize processes in accordance with industry best practices. This will enable organizations to take advantage of competitive prices offered by various cloud solution providers

Portfolio prioritization

In concert with the above effort, a portfolio prioritization effort of applications and infrastructure underpinning the technology footprint enabling the key functions/processes will identify potential application or infrastructure candidates for transitioning to the Cloud.

Legacy System Integration

There will always be one or more legacy systems that may be delayed in their migration to the Cloud due to a host of reasons. Identifying the integration requirements and implementing the necessary integrations can go a long way in easing a firm-wide transition to the Cloud

Performance, Compliance and Security

These are the “non-negotiables”. While the economics may be compelling, they need to be balanced with the pragmatics: performance needs, compliance regimes requirements and security postures.

Change Management

Last, but not the least, a change management program can ensure that people are more likely to embrace the new way of doing things and ease the firm-wide transition to the Cloud.

© 2017 Bambucluster.

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