How can local business gain value from cloud computing?
Speaking with a potential customer today, I was asked the question about ethics and the uncomfortable feeling cloud computing induces. I started to really think about my answer before speaking and found that, just maybe, ethically, cloud computing is a game changer in society.
Cloud technologies are introducing a whole new set of social problems, in particular, around privacy and how we do business.
“Local business can gain access to the same tools and online products as the big globals”
With the growth of Cloud technology use and our acceptance to using systems that have a smaller initial cost footprint, we are quickly moving away from local business to make our purchases and buying from larger, global companies. And by doing so, opening up our information to global analysis. This leaves local business with a serious problem; how do they compete on a global scale? Local business will start to close doors more rapidly than ever before and will create a gap in the local community, especially if the local business is a fundamental services.
The potential customer belongs to a buying group for local businesses and the context of the question was far more relevant than any other time I have been asked previously. My answer in the end was simple, > “Small business needs to accept that change is inevitable and start to make use of cloud technologies”.
“Make it easy to buy or browse online”
The next question was “How?”. I am a believer that the next couple years will see significant change in Australia, especially in retail and service based industries, with many businesses folding under the pressure of change. However, I do see a significant change to how culture is changing and will change. Australian’s will want to support local business but only if they make it easy to buy. I see the use of cloud based systems used more and more by local business to extend the reach and ease of use for local consumers. How does a small business operator take this and make it an advantage? Make it easy to buy or browse online and give consumers the options to pick up locally.
Local business can gain access to the same tools and online products as the big globals, by leveraging buying groups. When you buy in bulk, you get the features the big players get for less, usually. In essence, what this is called is business as a service. Business as a service is a term used where you pay your monthly fees and sometimes a per transaction feee, and the software owner will maintain and enhance the system for better results. Your need to manage is restricted to things like inventory and special offers, making it a really simple model to leverage.