Small Business Cloud
The growth of cloud based business support systems has been staggering, and while some major software houses have quickly positioned themselves as forerunners in the move to the Cloud, there are several high-flying companies that have so far failed to provide small businesses with the level of support that many have grown to expect.
A couple of days ago I had covered “5 Companies That Took On The Small Business Cloud – And Won” and today I’m covering (subjectively) “5 Companies That Took On The Small Business Cloud – And Lost”. Keep in mind that each of these companies have done incredibly well but I feel there is room for improvement in this department.
Here we take a look at several software companies that have failed to develop a cloud service that meets the growing needs of entrepreneurs and SMEs.
Blackberry (RIM) dominated business mobile telephone services for many years; it’s only in the past few years that businesses started moving towards Google Android and Apple iPhone. In 2010, Blackberry had a massive 42% of the market share in the US and roughly 20% worldwide (Q1 2010), in supplying businesses and Government organisations with smartphones. That number has dwindled to less than 1%.
Find more statistics at Statista
Blackberry was the first to provide businesses with mobile email and business SMS services. However, improvements in mobile internet and more powerful handsets means that this is no longer a unique selling point and businesses are now demanding more from their devices. Smartphones that use Apple and Google platforms are able to link to cloud based business software, such as CRM, email, spreadsheets and ERP. Business owners are more demanding today and Blackberry failed to provide sufficient solutions.
Oracle is the world’s second largest software manufacturer after Microsoft, providing enterprise application software for major businesses. Before the internet, they had a great strategy, namely to provide the best solutions for major corporations, develop a strong brand, and gain respect in the industry.
Oracle appears to have missed an opportunity to use its expertise and resources to develop solutions that are suited to the smaller business. The biggest hurdle for cloud software providers is in developing and maintaining powerful and secure servers to handle data.
As Oracle has the infrastructure in place already, it should be able to offer software-as-a-service (SAAS) services to smaller businesses. So far, there appears to be very little development in this area. Oracle has developed a business intelligence solution, but the premium price tag means that its services are not suitable for small business.
Yahoo! was once bigger than Google in terms of service offerings but a failure to develop apps and cloud storage has seen Yahoo! lose ground to Google and Microsoft Outlook. Yahoo! has bought the photo storage and sharing site Flickr, as well as partnering with cloud storage company Dropbox, but both of these products are losing out to Google Drive. Yahoo! is still the world’s second most popular webmail service, but it is losing the small business market to Google.
EMC provides companies with data storage, information security, virtualization and analytics solutions, as well as cloud computing services. EMC targets businesses of all sizes, but few very small businesses understand what they offer.
EMC is the largest provider of data storage in the world and its cloud based storage solutions have won many awards. It provides excellent storage and back-up solutions that can literally save businesses in the event of a disaster.
If EMC built a competitive solution that serves small businesses, it could rapidly reach a much wider audience. The company’s expertise in cloud computing, virtual machines and data storage places it in a strong position to dominate the data recovery market.
Dropbox is a popular file sharing service that many businesses utilise in order to collaborate on spreadsheets and documents. It also provides a secure way to access business files from roaming computers.
There’s no denying it offers an excellent low-budget cloud storage service for SMEs, but Dropbox has failed to provide the same level of cloud support as some of its competitors. One of the biggest issues users have with the product occurs when more than one person opens and edits a file at the same time. Dropbox will create a “conflicted copy”, but this can lead to confusion and work is sometimes lost when one user overwrites the live changes made by another. Services such as Google Drive display changes in real time and this makes conflicts impossible.
The concept of the cloud is not new but it is only in the past few years that internet infrastructure has developed sufficiently to make cloud computing a viable option. Many software companies are still struggling to implement cloud strategies, and their rush to enter the cloud market is at times resulting in an inferior service. Time will tell whether or not these companies will successfully enter the small business Cloud – in such a competitive field, it seems it’s harder than ever to develop the perfect cloud solution at the perfect price for today’s fledgling companies.
By Gary Gould
Gary is the co-founder of the first independent cloudware comparison website. With decades of experience in the technology industry, Gary is well-placed to discuss the pros and cons of the latest cloud-based applications to hit the market. Compare, choose your favourites, and buy the cloud-based tool that works best for your business with CompareCloudware.com.