How Cloud Computing Is Transforming Small Business Operations
We’ve all heard this plenty of times: cloud operations are changing the way that organizations do business. While some organizations were initially slow to adapt, the percentage of those enterprises grows smaller by the day. In fact, companies who are still resistant to adopting cloud computing will be in the minority in less than six years, says Graham Winfrey of Inc.com. Furthermore, those companies who do not adapt will be putting themselves at an incredible disadvantage.
Adopting the cloud can save a company both time and money. For smaller companies, this fact is further magnified. Using cloud technology to procure supplies and services not only gives companies the ability to reduce costs and improve efficiency, but even facilitates an operational transformation that can be felt throughout the organization.
Winfrey cites research from a study conducted by consulting firm Emergent Research and financial software company Intuit that suggests a jump from 37% to nearly 80% cloud adoption by 2020.
“We’re seeing efficiency gains continue, but we’re also starting to see the emergence of new capabilities,” says Steve King, a partner at Emergent.
Cloud technology, including cloud-based procurement capabilities, offers smaller businesses a chance to compete with their much larger competitors. Per Winfrey and Emergent, here are three segments of small businesses that have already adapted to the cloud:
Plug-In Players This is the category of small businesses that “plug into” Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to automate, regulate, or help coordinate their business operations. For example, a company may choose to leverage a cloud-based provider of payroll services to help them keep the business running, while devoting all of their staff’s time and expertise to the more critical areas of their business. With a cloud-based procurement solution, companies can plug into a platform that improves their catalog search experience (reducing time),
while reducing maverick and off-contract spending (saving money).
Hives Hives are businesses that operate cross-functionally from several different locations. These companies have flexible staff levels in their different pods, and different teams rely on cloud computing capabilities in order to collaborate with each other no matter where their satellite is located. Thanks to mobile procurement, small businesses operating in hives can coordinate all of their procurement efforts via a single cloud-based platform from either their computers or mobile devices. Using an approval workflow model for purchase orders, an organization can decide for itself whether to enable all of their hives to make business purchases or to have all of their purchasing requests go through a single administrator.
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