With an ecosystem of small apps and in particular a range of cloud based applications which users can access through the web, smart phones and tablets, small businesses can increasingly overcome traditional geographic borders. No software and minimal infrastructure needed, with cloud apps you are not restricted to a certain location. This has opened up many new markets around the world for cloud vendors and consumers alike and this is in part why SMBs have been a major part of cloud adoption worldwide.
Cloud Adoption by SMBs
Small-businesses seem set to adopt cloud services in a big way over the next few years. In the US last year the SMB cloud services market grew by 25% to $15.1 billion. According to the same SMB Insights report, summarized on smallbusinesscomputing.com, worldwide this figure is set to reach $68billion by 2014, a compound annual growth rate of 26%. With SMBs usually characterized by their strict budgeting, the low capital expenditure and high scalability of cloud services allow SMBs compete with their much large competitors. Additionally smaller companies are three times less likely to ever set up their own servers. Again, the low maintinence, low infrastructure approach of cloud services suits SMBs. No longer needing to worry about regular server updates, this frees up the IT team to concentrate on innovation.
Small Apps the oil in the engine
Using ourselves as an example from our HQ in Montpellier we now have customers across the globe. Taking a snapshot from a short period of our web traffic this morning, we had website visitors from 71 different countries (see below Bime visualization below). In the office we utilise several cloud apps, Bime (of course) to analyze our web analytics, marketing and financial data, Salesforce for CRM, Dropbox for storage and Google Apps (soon to be trying out Google Drive) to name but a few. Using these apps and with the help of our partner network we are able to serve customers in 5 continents and because of their scalability, as our company grows so do our apps.
[caption id="attachment_13861" align="aligncenter" width="516" caption="Website Visitors from a short period this morning. Google Analytics data visualized in Bime."][/caption]
We recently came across this great infographic from Mavenlink providing a nice summary of some of the applications that allow small businesses to function (although we would like to see BI / analytics tools as a category, incrasingly a vital part of the SMB app landscape).