Following their biggest-ever test of operational resilience, organisations now recognise the necessity of their systems and data being securely accessible from anywhere and on any device. Especially so if they are to remain operational during disruption by providing employees with secure access to essential systems and continuing to service customers in new ways. ‘Digitise or disappear’ as a strategic philosophy has taken on a whole meaning.
Organisations with strong digital transformation strategies are set to grow their spending on cloud services – which have been shown to offer clear and discernible benefits. Those, meanwhile, that have traditionally lagged will look to play catch-up to ensure operational continuity and relevance in a reshaped competitive environment.
Either way, the aggressive adoption of cloud-based technologies that allow businesses to respond to disruption and operational limitations in an affordable and timely way will see a substantial increase in demand.
“Disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the competitive advantages of strong cloud-first IT strategies and laid bare the constraints of legacy on-premises environments. Taking a ‘digital-first’ approach is no longer sufficient; organisations need a ‘cloud-first’ approach that meets these new tests of resilience by providing flexible working arrangements and allowing for quick adaptation to fast-changing external conditions,” says Frederick Havemeyer, Senior Software Analyst at Macquarie Research.
Increasing access to enterprise software
Enterprise software has, historically, been off-limits to mid-sized and small businesses, typically because the price tag was too high, or because the complexity of managing it in-house required a high level of expertise. Cloud-based, managed solutions, however, are breaking down these barriers and making it accessible and affordable. In doing so, they are helping facilitate their digital transformation and sparking a small business digital renaissance.
Subscription-based pricing models allow organisations with limited budgets to digitalise the essential components of the customer journey, and internal processes and operations. Where once heavy up-front investment was required to install, manage and host IT systems, and then again to replace or upgrade them, the cloud offers access to more modern and lower-cost solutions that can be customised and scaled to meet business needs as they grow.
The breadth of cloud-based solutions available promises to revolutionise the way smaller organisations operate. From HR management systems to intelligent automation tools, machine learning and big data analytics, they offer new workflow automation opportunities, better decision-making and real-time customer insight.
For the first time, powerful enterprise-scale digital tools are now accessible by small businesses looking to improve their competitive advantage, flexibility, and ability to capitalise on opportunities at short notice.
“Small businesses are undergoing a renaissance of software uptake made possible by software-as-a-service offering enterprise-grade software and IT services as affordable subscriptions. Something made necessary by the business resiliency challenges of 2020. As the small business digital renaissance enters full swing, most will be using at least some cloud services by 2024,” adds Havemeyer.