What cloud developments can we expect in the SME business industry in 2017? Here are 5 predictions from LuxCloud CEO Joost Pisters.
Published 30.12.2016 by Joost Pisters
Published 30.12.2016 by Joost Pisters
The coming year will see more small and medium-sized (SME) businesses profiting from the cloud, especially when it comes to the use of everyday business productivity apps and hosted email solutions. This growth will also create new opportunities for value-added resellers, who will be able to help their SME clients navigate the ever-changing ecosystem of cloud applications, from initial migration to ensuring integration between apps.
Office 365 for Business, the complete suite of business productivity apps from Microsoft, is transforming the use of software within companies. Offered on a per user/per month subscription model, the apps, including Exchange, Word, PowerPoint and Excel, can be used across mobile devices, within browsers or as traditional installed software, and are always up-to-date. In addition, there are a growing number of integrations possible, including sending registered emails via RMail, company-wide email signature management tools like Exclaimer and email backup solutions such as Dropmyemail. As the number of resellers offering Office 365 has exploded over the last two years, we’ll see more companies of all sizes making the switch in 2017. Many SMEs still using the deprecated Windows Small Business Server will also make this move, choosing Office 365 for Business as the logical turnkey alternative.
As it becomes increasingly difficult to protect against sophisticated spam attacks, more and more companies will migrate to cloud-hosted email solutions such as Hosted Exchange or Exchange Online. With these solutions offering high-level security, a wide array of business features and easy device setup, companies are happy to shrug off the hassle of managing their own on-premise email servers. Many growing SMEs that started out using free POP or IMAP email will also be moving to business-grade cloud-hosted email this year, skipping the on-premise solution entirely.
As I’ve previously written, I see a growing need for cloud system integrators: experts who are able to connect up disparate cloud services. The average business uses around 15 different business apps, which need to work together. Traditionally, these were all stored on the same on-premise server, which meant that they already had a trust relationship and didn’t face too many security issues. As businesses and applications now make the move to the cloud, integration can pose a real problem. With different apps hosted in datacenters around the world, an automatic trust relationship no longer exists. In order to run basic data processing between apps, SMEs need someone to help ensure that their day-to-day apps can communicate securely with one another. This is where the new cloud system integrators will come in.
With the shift to cloud apps for all types of business tasks, there will be high demand for support in migrating all types of data, whether email accounts, files, or websites. This will extend to consolidating multiple accounts into one, for example in the case of file storage. Apps and services are already popping up to fill this need, such as MigrationWiz, All-in-One WordPress Migration, or Mover.io, but there is plenty of room for growth in this space.
As consumers and businesses make the transition to the cloud, software developers are following suit, rewriting their software to make it available through the cloud for any device. At the same time, they are also shifting to the subscription-based model, offering their software on a per user/per month basis for a low monthly fee. The subscription model is becoming ever more ubiquitous across a wide range of industries, and it makes particular sense for software. Whereas in the past businesses needed to pay a high one-time purchase fee for a piece of software, only to need to buy the next version just a year or two later, they can now use always up-to-date versions of the apps they need for a monthly fee that reflects the actual size of their company. The benefits for software companies are also great, as in the past they needed to ensure that different versions of their software were working across countless different devices and operating system versions. Now with the subscription-based cloud model, any upgrade to their centralized online application is immediately rolled out to all users across all devices.
LuxCloud is a market-leading provider of cloud computing services, allowing companies to quickly launch and profitably deliver the cloud services demanded by small- and medium-sized businesses. LuxCloud offers customizable branded solutions enabling resellers, system integrators and service providers to sell online any and all of the services and applications available on the platform.