Cloud Computing: Collaboration and Communication

By | Mar 12, 2014

Cloud computing is expanding at an impressive rate among small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Certain attributes of the technology, which include communication and collaboration as well as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), have proved to be the most appealing for SMBs, according to the latest Parallels SMB Cloud Insights™ report.

Communication and Collaboration

According to the report's findings, which were featured in ChannelPro Network, the small and midsize cloud market is predicted to grow at a 26 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), reaching $125 billion by 2016. The report included the opinions of midsize companies with 100 to 999 employees. The findings ranked communication and collaboration, comprising business-class email and hosted private breach exchange (PBX) services, as the top growth drivers.

Parallels also noted that the business applications category grew 60 percent, displaying a shift by SMBs to utilize more software and move beyond free apps to premium paid versions. According to the report, the average small or midsize firm uses five cloud services, and this number is expected to grow to nine by 2016. The report also pointed out that the U.S. market will likely achieve a 17 percent CAGR through 2017. Unified communications and other online business applications were noted as the top drivers in the U.S.

Flexibility and Agility

Communication and collaboration are very important for midsize firms. Easy, effective methods of collaboration between employees, partners and clients are necessary to keep a firm running smoothly. As a result, business-class email and PBX are necessary at many companies today. Traditional communications are often not flexible enough during market changes or times of growth. Cloud computing solutions, however, provide options that are flexible and meet the most demanding of business challenges.

By working with an experienced cloud vendor, a midsize firm can explore various options that might work well within their IT framework. Private, public or hybrid clouds support various types of collaboration services. Smaller firms have limited time, resources and knowledge about the latest solutions in the market. Vendors can offer consultation that addresses what data and which apps work best in the cloud. A few inquiries will revolve around whether workloads should be evaluated, who can have access to the software, bandwidth issues and whether an application will work well in a distributed environment.

Responding on Demand

In an era of increased mobility in business, midsize firms are striving to be prepared to respond to rapidly changing business demands. Cloud computing will continue to see growth among SMBs because it offers flexibility and agility. When the cloud is used to achieve a firm's communication and collaboration goals, a company can save time and money and gain a competitive edge.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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