If You Think Cloud, Think Small

If you think cloud, think small.

For years, the cloud industry has been suffering from megalomania. Big Data. Enterprise 2.0. Network as a Service. Sure, Fortune 1000 companies are flush with cash and have big tech departments who understand how to extract value from the cloud, but the experience shows that the ‘small cloud’ model can be just as profitable and provide necessary growth.

My company, Bitrix24, is a SMB 2.0 company, meaning we provide Enterprise 2.0-like services that are both in high demand from small businesses but appropriately priced for them. Despite the fact that our niche (enterprise social networking) is hypercompetitive and packed with billion dollar players: Jive Software, Yammer, TIBCO, SalesForce Chatter, Citrix and others; our Android app is more popular than either Tibbr or Jive, gets half as many downloads as Podio and is about 1/10 the size of Yammer and Chatter, quite an accomplishment for a solution that is barely one year old and entirely self-financed.

Google Apps, Analytics and Mail is another great example of SMB 2.0 thinking in action. Unlike ‘Big Data’, that starts with exabytes of data that only large companies possess, Google found a way to provide useful and actionable analysis to any web shop owner who may only get 100 visitors a day. Now, your average small business owner may claim that he or she doesn’t use any cloud services, but when Google Docs, Gmail or Hangout come up, chances are you’ll get a ‘yes’.

Of course, ‘small cloud’ is not without its challenges. First, you have to come up with something that’s genuinely useful to a small business, freelancer or a solo entrepreneur. Not only useful, but new or better than other solutions on the market, too. Second, your customer acquisition costs have to be very, very low, as you can’t pay for high-rolling sales reps, as your average contract is hundreds of dollars, not thousands or millions.

Naturally, you shouldn’t expect that small businesses will flock to your cloud, just because you offered it. But there are a few tricks that can speed up the process. First, freemium is a must. Humans are a risk-averse species, so being able to try the service before committing to a purchase helps a lot. Second, you need to put data owners in full control of their data – usually this means ability to export valuable data any time. There are just too many examples of cloud services that unexpectedly went out of business, taking all the data with them.

Finally, offering pricing flexibility helps. Consider different scenarios of product use and put the client in charge of deciding how much to pay. Offering ‘unlimited’ plan with a reasonable price helps too, as many folks still think that cloud and Saas simply a shrewd marketing ploy to keep charging forever.

Though challenging, a ‘small cloud’ approach can be incredibly rewarding. Those who ‘get it’, like FreshBooks or WaveAccounting, get millions of users within a span of few years. And those who don’t – well, that’s another story.

By Dmitry Valyanov

Dmitry Valyanov is CEO of Bitrix24 – world’s fastest growing social intranet and Productivity 2.0 platform created specifically for small businesses. Over 85,000 companies have signed up with Bitrix24 since its launch in 2012.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Get Ready For Virtual Reality and the Cloud

Get Ready For Virtual Reality and the Cloud

Virtual Reality Cloud We’re lucky to live in an era where virtual reality is no longer relegated to the confines of a sci-fi movie universe. Thanks to technology introduced by products like Oculus Rift, consumers now have access to virtual environments with fully immersive graphic capabilities. As a result, companies have only just begun to…

Three Ways To Secure The Enterprise Cloud

Three Ways To Secure The Enterprise Cloud

Secure The Enterprise Cloud Data is moving to the cloud. It is moving quickly and in enormous volumes. As this trend continues, more enterprise data will reside in the cloud and organizations will be faced with the challenge of entrusting even their most sensitive and critical data to a different security environment that comes with using…

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

Hybrid-Cloud Approach For over 20 years, organizations have been attempting to secure their networks and protect their data. However, have any of their efforts really improved security? Today we hear journalists and industry experts talk about the erosion of the perimeter. Some say it’s squishy, others say it’s spongy, and yet another claims it crunchy.…

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation Changing with the times is frequently overlooked when it comes to data center security. The technology powering today’s networks has become increasingly dynamic, but most data center admins still employ archaic security measures to protect their network. These traditional security methods just don’t stand a chance against today’s sophisticated attacks. That hasn’t stopped organizations…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap You’re out of your mind if you think blocking access to file sharing services is filling a security gap. You’re out of your mind if you think making people jump through hoops like Citrix and VPNs to get at content is secure. You’re out of your mind if you think putting your…

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Big Data To Analyze Using Big Data to Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential For those who are regularly involved with SMEs, venture capital, and company valuations, it is common knowledge that start-ups that exit for more than $1 billion dollars are extremely rare – often termed ‘unicorn’ companies. Despite their rarity, it should…

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War There’s little question that the business world is a competitive place, but probably no area in business truly defines cutthroat quite like cloud computing. At the moment, we are witnessing a heated price war pitting some of the top cloud providers against each other, all in a big way to attract…

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud With the results of Cisco Global Could Index: 2013-2018 and Hosting and Cloud Study 2014, predictions for the future of cloud computing are notable. Forbes reported that spending on infrastructure-related services has increased as public cloud computing uptake spreads, and reflected on Gartner’s Public Cloud Services Forecast. The public cloud service…

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

Disaster Recovery And The Cloud One of the least considered benefits of cloud computing in the average small or mid-sized business manager’s mind is the aspect of disaster recovery. Part of the reason for this is that so few small and mid-size businesses have ever contemplated the impact of a major disaster on their IT…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Successful digital marketing campaigns are being driven largely by trending technologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and The Cloud. These may be used for a huge number of marketing applications, from optimizing the performance of sports teams to improving science and research, even helping to aid law enforcement. Amazon Web…

Expert Insights Into The Yahoo Breach

Expert Insights Into The Yahoo Breach

Yahoo Breach Latest reports suggest that the recent Yahoo! data breach may exceed 500 million records, with some sources implying millions more records penetrated, upping the total number of records stolen in various recent hacks to approximately 3.5 billion. CloudTweaks spoke to Kevin O’Brien, CEO of GreatHorn, for expert insight into this latest violation. GreatHorn…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

Big Data’s Significant Role In Fintech

Big Data’s Significant Role In Fintech

Data Banking Fintech covers a range of financial fields such as retail banking, investments, and lending and thanks to the mobile and internet innovations of late is a thriving sector. Offering improvements which drive customer satisfaction and education in an area previously inscrutable and dictated by gigantic inflexible corporations, fintech is helping put the power…

Battle of the Clouds: Multi-Instance vs. Multi-Tenant

Battle of the Clouds: Multi-Instance vs. Multi-Tenant

Multi-Instance vs. Multi-Tenant The cloud is part of everything we do. It’s always there backing up our data, pictures, and videos. To many, the cloud is considered to be a newer technology. However, cloud services actually got their start in the late 90s when large companies used it as a way to centralize computing, storage,…

Infographic: 9 Things To Know About Business Intelligence (BI) Software

Infographic: 9 Things To Know About Business Intelligence (BI) Software

Business Intelligence (BI) Software  How does your company track its data? It’s a valuable resource—so much so that it’s known as Business Intelligence, or BI. But using it, integrating it into your daily processes, that can be significantly difficult. That’s why there’s software to help. But when it comes to software, there are lots of…