Oftentimes, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) shy away from cloud adoption under the misconception that the cloud is meant for their big corporate counterparts.
The reality is that this a myth, and the cloud can be beneficial for companies of any size – if implemented correctly. As cloud enablement experts, BBD has been a crucial partner in helping organisations of varying sizes achieve their strategic goals with the cloud.
That being said, making the decision to move to the cloud, particularly for SMEs, involves a careful evaluation of the potential benefits and drawbacks – below, we paint a picture of both the pros and cons of cloud adoption for smaller organisations.
The benefits of the cloud
- Cost efficiency: For SMEs, cost is often a critical factor. SMEs are more cognisant of budget restraints and buzzwords like full-scale digital transformation sound expensive. However, most, if not all, cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go models and flexible licensing options which eliminate the need for substantial upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure. This scalability and rightsizing of workloads allows businesses to align expenses with usage, reducing overall costs.
- Managed services: Many SMEs may lack the in-house resources for managing complex IT infrastructures. BBD’s Managed Services (MServ) team offers managed services, enabling businesses to focus on their core competencies while experts handle the technical aspects – offering the full spectrum of managing, monitoring and maintaining your cloud environment.
- Flexibility and scalability: Cloud platforms provide the flexibility to run applications from an outsourced perspective. This agility is particularly beneficial for medium-sized enterprises that may experience fluctuating workloads. Scalability allows businesses to adapt to changing demands without the constraints of physical infrastructure. This is ever more relevant in a time where companies have to fight for their piece of the pie against competitors who are more agile and enter the market as cloud natives.
- Integration with existing infrastructure: Despite having existing applications and infrastructures, cloud adoption can complement rather than disrupt. Integration tools and services facilitate a smooth transition, allowing businesses to leverage the cloud without compromising their current operations.
The drawback of the cloud
- Existing infrastructure investment: Medium-sized enterprises with established on-premise solutions may question the return on investment for migrating to the cloud. Assessing the compatibility and cost-effectiveness of moving existing systems is crucial before making the leap.
- Learning curve: Adopting cloud technologies requires employees to acquire new skills. The learning curve associated with transitioning to the cloud can disrupt productivity initially. Medium-sized enterprises need to factor in the time and resources required for training. However, on the other side of this coin, adopting cloud technologies and the upskilling associaited with this has the potential to attract a wider pool of candidates and retain existing talent.
- Vendor lock-in: Choosing a cloud service provider necessitates careful consideration. Vendor lock-in, where a business becomes heavily dependent on a specific provider’s ecosystem, can limit flexibility and pose challenges if the need to switch arises. This makes it vital that a company who may not know enough to make an educated decision on which cloud provider to opt for, should partner with a technology house that has the skill and insight to suggest which route and provider would best benefit their requirements. “Engaging with experts in the cloud space can provide valuable insights into lessons learned and best practices for a successful transition” explains executive director at BBD, Matthew Barnard.
- Connectivity reliance: Cloud services heavily rely on internet connectivity. SMEs should have all of their ducks in a row from a local infrastructure perspective before they are able to consider cloud adoption. This includes ensuring a stable and high-speed internet connection to minimise the risk of downtime and disruptions.
Empowering SMEs: BBD’s cloud success stories
BBD’s transformative approach to cloud adoption has propelled several SMEs, including Metfriendly, Right ePharmacy, and Novus3, into the realm of digital excellence, revolutionising their operations, enhancing efficiency, and fostering growth.
1. Metfriendly: Collaborative innovation for financial excellence
In the dynamic landscape of digital transformation, Metfriendly, dedicated to serving the UK police service, embarked on a mission to replace their Policy Management system and enhance member servicing processes. BBD, a strategic partner, initiated a collaborative approach, leveraging a thorough Health Check to understand Metfriendly’s challenges. The partnership flourished, leading to the development of a bespoke Policy Administration System, which runs on Microsoft Azure, not only automated processes but transformed their entire operational model.
2. Right ePharmacy: Revolutionising medicine collection
In South Africa, long queues at public hospital pharmacies prompted Right ePharmacy, in collaboration with BBD, to introduce electronic smart lockers as an innovative solution. The move to the cloud, facilitated by BBD’s expertise, allowed for a global presence of hosted applications, connecting patients, depots, and last-mile locations seamlessly. On the client side, Fanie Hendriksz, managing director at Right ePharmacy explains that “Having global infrastructure as well as the ability to host health-related sensitive data locally while maintaining an integrated view of the information was a critical requirement for us. AWS has a unique value proposition offering a 100% uptime guarantee in its environment. So we can run like a bank, even though we are a relatively small business, and achieve the uptime we’re looking for with AWS on a small budget”. This transformative approach addressed Right ePharmacy’s challenges, including deploying smart locker services in regions with no connectivity, ensuring near real-time data transfer.
3. Novus3: Capitalising on the cloud for strategic growth
Novus3, a diverse advisory consulting service provider, sought to optimise their current system and enhance service capabilities through cloud adoption. Choosing BBD as their strategic vendor, they migrated to the cloud using AWS Elastic Compute 2 (EC2). “Using AWS EC2, we were able to implement the client’s project on the AWS cloud while offering secure, resizable compute capacity and complete control of your computing resources. It also lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment” explains BBD director Andre de Witt. BBD’s MServ team conducted a comprehensive analysis of Novus’ data center hosted system, optimising the system environments in AWS. The impact of BBD’s partnership with Novus was transformative, enabling the client to upscale their system, equipping them to make informed choices in the public sector.
BBD’s cloud roadmaps
BBD offers a series of assessments, which uncover whether your environment is ripe for cloud adoption, while mapping out a specific route to get you there seamlessly. Werner de Jager, head of BBD’s MServ team adds that key assessments for SMEs include the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) which is designed to help any size business in some way with the funding of professional services to assess your estate, assess your cloud practices, and to draft a migration plan. You also receive post-migration credits from AWS by being part of this program. He also recommends an Optimisation & Licensing Assessment (OLA) which is an effective assessment that gives you a high-level view of your estate. “Depending on your specific situation and how much assistance you require, either of these could be a great fit” he adds. In addition, both of these assessments are free to organisations which meet qualification criteria.
The cloud holds immense potential for SMEs, offering a range of benefits such as cost efficiency, managed services, and scalability. However, it’s crucial for businesses to conduct a thorough analysis of their specific needs, weighing the pros and cons before embarking on the cloud journey. BBD’s commitment to innovation and strategic partnerships has unlocked new possibilities for SMEs to thrive in today’s digital landscape by embracing cloud solutions tailored to their unique needs.