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.

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

Enterprise File Sharing Solution Businesses have varying file sharing needs. Large, multi-regional businesses need to synchronize folders across a large number of sites, whereas small businesses may only need to support a handful of users in a single site. Construction or advertising firms require sharing and collaboration with very large (several Gigabytes) files. Financial services…