The provisioning of dynamically scalable and often times virtualized resources as a service over the Internet – whoa – not exactly the most the consumable or actionable descriptor a cloud services provider should go to market with when targeting a SMB (small-to-medium sized business). Yet, many do. Before you decide on your cloud computing positioning, first take a step back from the specifics of your IT perch, put yourself in your prospects’ shoes, and focus on the core value of your offering.
Cloud Computing for the SMB
The term “cloud computing” generally describes a new consumption and delivery model for IT services relying on the Internet. Cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online which are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers. IT pro’s will largely agree that cloud computing, if implemented and adopted correctly, can truly simplify your computing needs while providing a strategy to accommodate future growth. However, for many consumers and businesses, cloud computing is invokes fear, uncertainty and doubt. The manner in which a cloud services provider communicates their value may determine the success of their cloud strategy on the whole. Our recommendation is to keep it simple, get back to the basics, and communicate the value of the cloud to the audience you seek. For example, if you’re targeting a SMB owner, stick to the basics and communicate financial value. SMB owners may see the term cloud computing as the latest buzz word in the tech community. The fact is that although the cloud computing model has been in place and in use for many years, you may need to first educate your audience before asking them adopt your solutions.
Here are questions and answers to most commonly asked questions about the cloud in the SMB category:
1. What is Cloud Computing?
Clouds typically have five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. Cloud computing customers typically do not own the physical infrastructure, instead they rent/lease usage from a third-party provider. Clouds operate in the same manor as a utility service (think of your local electricity provider), and only charge for computing power used during your billing cycle.
2. Is Cloud Computing Cost Effective?
Clouds offer lower barriers to entry. Rather than paying ongoing fees for dedicated or colocated servers in a datacenter, cloud computing users can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and services when they pay a provider only for what they use.
3. Should I Move to the Cloud?
For companies requiring the power of dedicated servers while facing increasing costs to maintain and manage that environment, moving to the cloud might make perfect financial sense. An alternate platform to consider is VPS Hosting, which offers the power of dedicated hosting for roughly the cost of shared hosting.
So, before you spend a lot of money on a new website, email or PPC campaign, remember that you may need to do some educating before your SMB prospects are qualified to make a buying decision. If they can rely on you for quality information, you will certainly be in the consideration set when it comes down to cloud computing investments.