For years, headlines about cloud computing have focused on infrastructure for the enterprise. Stories typically focus on the vendors – Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google App Engine, OpenStack, etc. – or on the benefits such as scalability, reliability, cost efficiency and of course that enterprise buzzword, “agility”.
But there’s an equally large, if not larger revolution occurring in small business where the catalyst is cloud software more than infrastructure-as-a-service. The greatest improvement over desktop or server software is this – the cloud promises easy access to the latest business technology.
What does this mean? In practical terms, a business owner armed with just a credit card and an internet connection can use nearly any cloud program in the world. Often for free on a 30-day trial. The implication of this commonly accepted fact is so enormous that many fail to see the significance.
Think about the hurdles an SME faced in the past if it wanted to trial a customer database or inventory program. A test server had to be ordered and installed by a consultant paid on an hourly rate. The software itself needed to be requested separately and loaded onto the machine, with data exported from the existing application and imported into the new one.