David V’s Goliath – The Next Generation
Have you noticed the significant shift in balance in the way companies small and large are competing against each other? Large enterprises (the Goliaths) are no longer dominating the world of business and SME’s (the David’s) are getting stronger, faster and leaner than they have ever been before.
Let me explain; for as long as companies have been competing against each other, one constant has remained – small companies, even those with great products and solid business plans, fail to outperform their competitors let alone the Goliath’s of this world. The reason for this is typically down to few reasons including cash, people, quality, service or sales. However there is a paradigm shift at play…
The new weapon in your arsenal.
The limitations of new start-ups typically are defined by two things, cash and capability. However there is a new weapon in town and it’s called the Cloud.
Historically in order to start-up a business you would need a considerable amount of capital to invest in technology to even stand half a chance of competing. To start with you’d need hardware, software, security and maintenance and then suitable space within the office to house all of it –making new businesses at a disadvantage from the beginning.
The three main applications you will need include: accounting, email/documents and a line of business application such as a CRM. Now let’s see how with the evolution of the cloud what these applications look like.
Finance, and the management of it is imperative for any business to survive let alone thrive so making sure your data is secure, available and up to date is essential.
There are a number of new players to this market but you would certainly consider Xero Accounting because being a Cloud based application it doesn’t require any large upfront capital expenditure and it doesn’t require any hardware and all you pay for is the monthly fee per user.
This software includes an app for your mobile so instantly your data is mobile and available from pretty much any internet connected device. You no longer need to pay for upgrades, you don’t have to worry about backups as they are done for you and the availability of your data is no longer reliant on your office internet connection.
Email and Documents
With your accounts secure next on your list will be an email and document solution.
There are a number of options available to you but the leader is unquestionably Microsoft Office 365. This incredibly powerful solution gives everything a small, medium and enterprise business would ever need.
The data is stored in a number of highly secure data centres meaning you will have the peace of mind over the sovereignty of your data. Again as with most Cloud services Office 365 is paid by way of a monthly fee per user with a minimal initial upfront expenditure.
Line of Business
You will also need a Line of Business application to run and manage your business. This is typically some form of database such as a CRM.
If you were a recruitment company, you would look at several offerings including a great cloud based application called Bullhorn. This will give you everything you need to run a successful recruitment business such as holding information about candidates, clients and access to online portals such as job boards.
Products like Bullhorn are ready for business within a few minutes of you placing your order and within a few hours you will have the same capability as some of the largest recruitment companies in the world!!
The clever bit
The beauty of these Cloud based platforms is they are designed to seamlessly integrate with each other.
With a small amount of configuration you can do everything with a single click of button.. This for me is one of the best things about the cloud; the fact that individual applications natively speak to each other and help create workflows that significantly increase efficiency and reduce human errors is fantastic.
However the same cannot be said of some of the Goliaths of the world. Their problem is that they have invested thousand’s if not millions of pounds developing their IT systems that are built on old style technology i.e. they requires hardware, private datacentres, backups and a team of IT experts to maintain it around the clock.
As to costs; because you don’t have to manage any of the hardware, hosting or even the applications the costs to support your infrastructure and people is greatly reduced. It also means less goes wrong so you not only save money, but have happier users.
The bottom line
Small business can now start up with the smallest amount of capital expenditure and within hours have the same if not greater capability that the large enterprises of this world. In fact they will often be slicker, faster and require less staff to produce the same level of service to their customers.
This is a seismic shift in the world of commerce and we predict that this trend will only increase over the next few years.
The headline is that regardless of the size or age of your business you need to get on the Cloud as soon as possible because David is about to slay Goliath and it’s not going to be pretty!
Can you feel a shudder?
This area of business is a real talking point and shows a possibly seismic shift, but do you agree?
Can you see a change to the dynamics of different sized businesses?
How much of an effect do you think the cloud is?
Has your company benefited from the cloud?
We’d love to hear your views on this.