Indian companies, especially SMEs, seem to be gradually coming into grips with the prospect of adopting cloud computing instead of investing money upfront on having their own IT infrastructure. According to a survey by Circle Research Global last year, out of the 800 senior SME decision makers with up to 1,000 employees, 90% felt that cloud adoption was becoming increasingly important for business success.
This is good news. Possibly the key apprehensions around security and control over data with cloud computing are getting overpowered by the cost advantage and the SMEs’ need to innovate faster. Another probable cause of this change in mindset is assurances from cloud biggies like Amazon Web Services and local cloud players that their Indian customers’ data would remain in India and not go out of the country.
In fact, we also got a re-validation of this trend live on our recent visit to Pune’s Pimpri-Chinchwad area, where we met the local Plastics Manufacturing Association. We discovered that cloud based ERP was something a lot of SMEs in the region aspired to go for. It was their ultimate goal, after having a local setup for their basic accounting software and productivity solutions in-house. We discovered a similar trend in Vashi as well.
In order to realize the true potential of cloud computing, SMEs need to consider several other products and technologies as well, which would form a complete a cloud eco-system.
1. Use Thin Clients Instead of Desktop PCs in Office
One is to use thin clients instead of regular desktop PCs in office, to access cloud based apps. Since most of the computing takes place in the cloud, thin clients are a good option. They’re cheaper, lighter, consume lesser power, and are easier to maintain as compared to their heavier traditional counterparts.
2. Use the Right Mobile Devices
Second is the right mobile devices. With everything in the cloud, you want to be able to give access to it from anywhere at any time, and from any device. Depending upon who you’re buying the mobile device for, your choice varies from simple barebones laptops to high-end ultrabooks to even convertibles that can double up as a tablet or a laptop. This will enable your workforce to be productive from anywhere. Smartphones also deserve a mention here, but you’ll probably want your employees to use their own. What you will have to check though is whether your cloud computing provider allows access from a smartphone, either via a mobile app or HTML5 or some other technology.
3. Sufficient and Consistent Internet Bandwidth
Third most important thing is sufficient and consistent Internet bandwidth, without which, it’s pointless to move to a cloud based environment. This is where the right Internet data cards, and local DSL connectivity comes into the picture. It’s also something that telecom vendors need to make note, because we’ve received consistent feedback from many SMEs that the quality of Internet bandwidth in their regions are quite sad. Telecom vendors—are you listening? Companies would have to select the right data cards for their mobile devices, and probably have Internet connectivity from different ISPs so that if one fails, there’s a second one available as backup.
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