Utilizing the cloud for a Frugal Economy

written by Denis Njeru

A case for the cloud in liberating SMEs from economic strain

The Kenyan economy is struggling to put it kindly, with factors such as increased debts and reduced purchasing power contributing to its decline. Many of her citizens have resorted to cutting costs to make both ends meet. This has led to business people thinking outside the proverbial box to develop quality pocket friendly products that offer value to end consumers. Though this is easier said than done as high costs of production serving as a hindrance to such innovations.  Businesses may have to change tact from re-inventing the wheel and look outside to already existing solutions and refactor them to meet the dynamic needs of today’s consumer base.

The question therein lies with how to leverage existing solutions in the market to add value to end users. This is where the cloud comes in, leveraging resources such as computing and vast storage pools can be a solution for most businesses looking to go to the next level. In stead of companies buying servers for their data centers and hiring specialized personnel to maintain those data centers, they can adopt cloud solutions and focus on their core areas of business. Technology is often touted as enabler of business but in the long run if your business is selling clothes, it does make sense for you to spend much of your time on making your end of life server to go one extra mile while you could be using it to sell more. Cloud service providers maintain the physical equipment for you, your only job is to manage your line of business.

What can the cloud do for you?

There are many benefits that can be accrued from cloud computing, but I would like to incline towards the financial advantages that can be wrought.

 

1.      Efficient Utilization of Hardware

The cloud brings into play economies of scale, businesses no longer have to invest heavily in acquiring ICT infrastructure as the cloud operates on an Operational Expenditure (OPEX) rather than Capital Expenditure (CAPEX). So what does this mean for your business? Let us put this in the Kenyan perspective, the average wait time for a company to be formed is 23 days according to a recent report undertaken by the World Bank. Taking this length of time as a factor, why prolong the time it takes to opening your doors to customers due to a lack of capital? With the cloud you can scale up and horizontally according to your needs. Another plus of the cloud over on-premise data centers is accountability of ICT infrastructure.  In most on premise setups, servers can remain idle for long periods of time especially during low production periods in an organization. With the cloud you can automate the start and end times of server deployments. This empowers business owners as they can audit their own hardware usage.

2.      Low power bills and carbon footprint

The other advantage is lower power bills and carbon footprint. Data centers incur high power bills as the costs of running servers and cooling fans is astronomical. Moving to the cloud not only saves you money but saves the planet as well as carbon emissions are reduced significantly. Therefore, the cloud enables you to ‘green’ while saving ‘green’.

3.      Increased elasticity

Significant cost savings can be realized with the cloud due to the positive effects of elasticity. The ability of cloud service providers to bill to the second with high granularity empowers business owners financially as they can budget wisely. When production times are low, you can opt to scale down on computing resources and scale up whenever needed.

Bringing it all home

The cloud is a powerful tool when used efficiently can lift your organizations up to levels of efficiency never imagined while also enabling you to compete with big corporates as the cloud is a huge game leveler. Conversely, when used poorly can leave a bitter taste as a sunk cost. With huge corporates making absurd profits through cost cutting measures, it is time most SMEs follow suit.   Getting a reliable cloud service provider (psst..Pong Agencies) to guide you  through your journey in the cloud not only minimizes the risk of migration but ensures your organization makes the most financial gain out of your IT infrastructure.

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