Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are doing everything in their power to gain a competitive advantage over rival enterprises that often have more exhaustible resources. In many cases, SMBs are adopting cloud computing services to achieve these goals, as the technology is now well known for its ability to reduce costs and drive innovation.
A recent report by Spiceworks highlighted the growing trend among SMBs to migrate to the cloud, noting that 36 percent of SMBs are already using cloud servers. Another 9 percent said they plan to be using the cloud within a year, while another 28 percent of SMB decision-makers are actively looking for the right provider and services to cater to specific needs.
To complicate matters for cloud vendors, not all SMBs are looking for the same thing. While the majority of companies require a highly scalable environment that is capable of supporting high-volume and long-term storage at an affordable cost, each executive has his or her own specific demands. As a result, Spiceworks narrowed down the list to five specific categories that most cloud users fall into.
The ‘nuts and bolts’ buyer
These individuals are usually the nitty gritty decision-makers that ensure the cloud solutions are functional and within a specific budget, Spiceworks noted. In many cases, these executives will ask questions about monthly expenses, maintenance costs and other practical financial questions in regard to specific services and applications.
The defensive purchaser
While getting down to the fine financial points is important, many organizations need to ensure cloud environments support a firm’s ability to meet compliance requirements. For this reason, some decision-makers are classified as the “CYA” buyers, as they are more focused on asking providers questions regarding data protection, audit support and other security aspects, Spiceworks noted. In general, cloud computing environments are highly secure, as this is a major competitive point for vendors, InfoWorld said in another report.
The performance hunter
Similar to the protective cloud buyers, some executives are primarily focused on ensuring their cloud is always available and performs well under pressure, Spiceworks noted. The service-level agreement (SLA) is often a point of discussion for these cloud users, as decision-makers need to guarantee the document meets corporate demands.
A separate report by InformationWeek said tackling cloud availability can be a difficult part of the negotiation process, especially when service providers have SLAs set in stone. However, this doesn’t mean organizations should simply skip over this part of the cloud search, as performance and availability are critical for effective business continuity strategies, which have become increasingly important after witnessing the effects natural disasters can have on a company.
Other executives fear losing control when migrating operations to an off-site environment, causing them to demand options for cloud monitoring solutions that provide visibility into the network, Spiceworks reported. These decision-makers are also keen on leveraging advanced management tools that give them more responsibility for maintaining the cloud.
The comfortability buyer
Spiceworks said some companies are more concerned about whether a vendor has any experience with their specific industry or other firms their size. While there are fewer of these decision-makers than there are those concerned with scalability and costs, keeping a provider’s expertise in mind is always a good thing.
As the cloud market continues to mature, SMBs around the world will likely begin leveraging hosted services more ambitiously than in the past. Decision-makers don’t necessarily need to classify themselves into one of these categories, but it will be important to keep these aspects in mind when selecting a service provider, as using the right cloud can make all the difference.