In 2020, the global public cloud infrastructure market hit $120 billion, well on its way to reaching the expected $600 billion-plus by 2023. Fortune 500 companies didn’t just drive this growth. Small businesses are engaging in cloud-based business services more than ever before, led by consumer expectations for fast, efficient experiences — even from the mom-and-pop shop down the street. As small businesses adopt cloud-based services, a handful of trends may forever change the way operations are conducted.
More businesses are using cloud computing as public cloud infrastructure grows. The staggering growth rate is currently creating an abundance of opportunities for small businesses that were once hesitant to digitize their operations due to the prohibitive costs of on-premise infrastructure. In turn, new waves of companies are seeking cloud-based solutions to their everyday business problems.
These five current trends in cloud-based business applications are crucial for the future of small business operations.
Crucial Cloud Trends for Small Businesses
From expediting the consumer journey to leveraging the power of data collection, cloud computing is the driving force behind powerful trends changing the way small businesses conduct business.
1. Accelerating Cloud Infrastructure
The global public cloud infrastructure market is accelerating at an incredible rate, primarily driven by the widescale adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and supported by 5G and artificial intelligence.
As cloud computing subscription models make these tools and ecosystems readily and financially available for small businesses to adopt, demand grows. Increased demand, in turn, creates more infrastructure, which leads to broader adoption.
We’re in the midst of a business paradigm shift as small businesses adopt the technology once reserved for large corporations. It will soon be unattainable for small businesses to thrive — or even survive — without operating and competing within the cloud ecosystem.
2. Data Collection
As IoT thrives, consumers are leaving more breadcrumbs at every step of their journey. These breadcrumbs — data — are gold.
Despite recent consumer protection laws limiting how businesses can collect, track and share consumer identity information, data collection will remain foundational to modern businesses and a crucial asset for competitiveness. For some businesses — like social media platforms — user data is more valuable than the services offered.
By collecting and tracking data, small businesses can analyze and better understand their customer. This helps create predictive modeling and smart forecasting on the sales and marketing side and optimization on the operations side. Whether a business is a small hardware store, an e-commerce store, or an industry service, data is paramount to connecting with potential and existing consumers.
Analyzing that data is key to unlocking its value. From smart storage to machine learning integration, service providers like AWS offer a la carte operations for businesses of any size to find purpose in those numbers.
3. Shorter Consumer Journey
With the evolution of predictive AI, data-based customer profiles, digital wallets, and next-day delivery, consumers have little time for old e-commerce sites. Patience just isn’t a virtue in the digital world.
The unspoken contract created around consumer data collection is that by allowing businesses to store that data, they must use it — ideally benevolently — to expedite the consumer journey and bring convenience to all corners of e-commerce. Whether a business decides to follow the trend of cloud-based payment services, the expectation will continue to drive the market.
Additionally, consumers expect predictive AI to be their onsite concierge service, acting as chatbots for customer service or helping to identify affinity, preference, and cadence of purchasing.
4. Normalized Remote Work Setups
Remote work is here to stay. Recent reports suggest that by 2022 31% of all work will either be fully remote or a hybrid of remote and onsite. Current employees and prospective hires will take this into consideration as they take stock of their work preferences.
Businesses simply can’t operate in outmoded ways and expect to survive. Luckily, there are numerous tools available for businesses to thrive with employees working from home or in a hybrid work environment.
From conferencing software to cloud-based servers, HR services, IT departments, and beyond, businesses will turn the curve from adoption to success in a remote world.
5. Outsourced Cloud-based Hiring and Operations
As small businesses dip their toes further into the cloud, they’ll quickly realize the numerous services available to them at affordable costs. The simultaneous rise of cloud computing and the gig economy has revolutionized the professional landscape and small businesses may be best positioned to benefit.
The days of small business owners spending 40% of their time on tasks that don’t generate income — like hiring — are coming to an end. The trend toward the cloud is alleviating those bottlenecks and freeing up small business owners to focus on profit. HR services, customer support, IT management, marketing initiatives — all of these services are “hirable” through the gig economy using the cloud.
Adopting these trends is easy.
Whether you’re a small business owner wondering how to invest your time better or trying to figure out how to unlock the power of the consumer data you’ve passively collected, cloud-based services will help. Elevating your business by using the cloud is simpler than ever.
A great place to begin is to prepare your business for cloud migration. Migration is a huge step towards digital transformation, but it’s essential to set up your business for scalability that will pay dividends down the road.
It also helps to research what services like the Salesforce Experience Cloud can offer small businesses migrating to the cloud. From business integration to management and analytics, cloud-based services are optimized for almost any aspect of business operations. The team at Soliant Consulting is available to talk when you’re ready to take the next step. Unlock the power of cloud computing and take advantage of the current small-business trends by setting up a time to chat.