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January 16, 2013

Next Generation Cloud and the SMB

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor

For many, the most advantageous aspect of the cloud is that it enables them to create offerings that can efficiently work together. It’s this ability that has given way for true transformation of the way small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) work, allowing them to create custom-fit solutions that are best suited for their business.

Before we get ready for the arrival of the next generation cloud, it could be quite helpful to take a look back at some of the most significant trends and technologies that have impacted the way businesses conduct their operations to get to where we are today.

The top influencing factor that comes to mind when considering the cloud is mobility. It seems that mobility and the cloud are quickly forming an intertwined, personal relationship. TMC (News - Alert) was able to sit down with Jerry Morgan, CEO and chief software architect at ProjecTools, who shares a similar perspective on the matter.

“I’d say there is a three way tie between the acceptance of cloud technology, mobile, and the rise of the tablet. Mobile in particular is huge, because everybody has a smartphone that provides immediate access to work,” Morgan divulges. “Alongside those, applications are becoming customizable so end users can dictate how they interact with technology. That customization will have a huge impact on how businesses look at software and technology.”

Once element of this “next generation cloud” is its sheer ubiquity and accessibility, which has served as a springboard of sorts for many. “There are more resources for cloud companies like us. People are aware of cloud technology. In the last ten years, cloud technology has moved from ominous to accepted, and is now becoming preferred and even the required deployment method for B2B systems,” Morgan continues.

For example, ProjecTools utilizes cloud products such as Salesforce, Marketo (News - Alert) and Survey Monkey to help the company both “work smarter” as well as avoid costly IT infrastructure.

The only problem that may still be lingering, however, is security.

“Security is always a huge concern and always will be,” Morgan notes, adding that cloud companies such as ProjecTools know that maintaining security is key to gaining and maintaining business. 

“Since the cloud has a much lower total cost of ownership and is dominated by the subscription model, if clients feel that security is lacking, they can take their business elsewhere without losing the capital investment traditionally associated with B2B software…Since security provisions are generally written into the SLA and the subscription model reduces lock-in; the risk lies with the service provider, so it is in service provider’s best interest to maintain security.”

When you factor mobility into the cloud mix, one very distinct thing should come to mind: BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. Companies everywhere are striving to strengthen their device-neutral stance in business operations. “End-users expect to use the devices they are comfortable with as well as wherever or whenever they are comfortable using them. Software companies that understand that desire and facilitate BYOD will have the advantage,” says Morgan.

All things aside, Morgan shared some other predictions for 2013. When asked what he thinks would be the most disruptive technology to hit mainstream markets this year, he cited Leap Motion and the Xbox 720’s Kinect technology, which he thinks “could cause a stir by changing expectations about user interface.” Furthermore, Morgan says that the one misconception he’d like to see finally set straight this year is “the notion that corporate firewalls and IT infrastructure somehow provide more security than cloud infrastructure and applications.”

Interested in learning more about the next generation cloud for SMBs as well as its customization capabilities? Be sure to check out the Cloud4SMB Expo, the first ever event of its kind focused on the unique needs and challenges facing today’s small and medium businesses looking to leverage the full benefits of the cloud, where Morgan will serve as a featured speaker.

To find out more about Jerry Morgan and ProjecTools, visit the company at Cloud4SMB Expo, taking place Jan. 29- Feb 1, in Miami, Florida, where Moran is speaking during “Next Generation Cloud for SMBs: User-Generated Customization.” For more information on Cloud4SMB Expo, click here.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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