Many business owners don’t scale their companies because of an inability to deal with the intricacies of administration, such as customer accounts, accounting, and information technology. Such scenarios are ticking time bombs until something eventually blows up in everyone’s faces.
With IT, key data files and documents are lost. Since the entrepreneur is typically busy opening new accounts, the business doesn’t properly manage its digital assets. Products or services paid for by customers have insufficient manuals, there is a lack of a standard operating procedure, and customer service suffers.
As a result, the entrepreneur increasingly spends more of their time fixing things instead of generating sales. Many resort to loans in order to stave off temporary cash flow issues.
As illustrated, small daily concerns can rapidly become an avalanche of problems which affect sales, cash flow, operational continuity, and mental sanity.
Google’s recent entrance into the cloud should be able to help entrepreneurs scale their IT infrastructure as their business grows. In the past, many business owners were forced to allocate inappropriate levels of capital towards workstations, data storage equipment, and servers despite not having the needed revenue to make support such investments so early in their business cycle.
However, most cloud providers are offering tiered pricing which allow business owners to progressively consumer capacity—such as data storage—as their company grows.
At an I/O developer conference held earlier this year, Google announced its Cloud Platform and Compute Engine services. The world’s most popular search engine could reshape the cloud industry with its entrance. In San Francisco, the company announced that it has been working on global-scale services over the past 14 years.
“With Google Cloud Platform, our goal is to open that infrastructure and make it available to any business or developer anywhere . . . . [We] are introducing improvements to the platform and making Google Compute Engine available for anyone to use,” the Silicon Valley-based company stated on its blog.
Workforce flexibility and agility are becoming more important as small businesses compete with larger enterprises which source their manpower on a global basis. Additionally, the looming implementation of Obamacare is forcing many small businesses to cap their employee hours at 30 hours in order to avoid penalties from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
A flexible and scalable IT infrastructure—which featured tiered pricing—should help entrepreneurs stay competitive.
Cloud solutions represent a highly lucrative area for Google. Global cloud computing traffic will increase 12-fold from 130 exabytes to reach a total of 1.6 zettabytes annually by 2015, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index. Cloud is the fastest growing component of data center traffic, growing to more than 33% of the total by 2015.
Additionally, a report by GigaOM predicts that the cloud market will grow to $158.8 billion by 2014. Opportunities will lie in both existing cloud architectures and emerging new architectures as organizations take advantage of differing deployment models.
Worldwide spending on public IT cloud services will be more than $40 billion this year with a CAGR of more than 25%, according to a study by IDC. This represents a significant shift for businesses from the ‘testing/development’ stage towards a much broader adoption and deployment of cloud solutions.
Organizations often look at data stored in the cloud as an extension of their virtual infrastructure. The fact that data can be accessed remotely in a secure fashion gives companies and their workforce agility and flexibility.
Despite giant technology players (such as Google and Microsoft) entering the cloud space, niche providers such as California-based Echopass remain confident that their targeted solutions can provide a better value proposition over their competitors.
“While technology can play a very key role in enhancing the customer experience, the agent-to-customer interaction continues to be the front line that determines success or failure to a large degree,” said Rob Farris, a marketing executive with Echopass, which specializes in cloud solutions for contact centers.
Echopass is utilizing cloud solutions for their clients. Storing data in the cloud enables businesses to reduce costs, adapt to changing workloads, and scale easier up or down.
“Our services are delivered in a cloud model that provides greater agility, innovation, security and business continuity than on premises and legacy solutions, and does so with approximately 30 [percent] savings for our clients. The cloud is built on a Software as a Service model with clients paying only for what they use in a highly scalable environment.”
With the new services, Google users are able to go online to cloud.google.com and use Compute Engine which provides an environment for running virtual machines. It features the following:
- Sub-hour billing charges for instances in one-minute increments with a 10 minute minimum, so you don’t pay for compute minutes that you don’t use
- Shared-core instances provide smaller instance shapes for low-intensity workloads
- Advanced Routing features help you create gateways and VPN servers, and enable you to build applications that span your local network and Google’s cloud
- Large persistent disks support up to 10 terabytes per volume, which translates to 10X the industry standard
Additionally, the company’s Cloud Datastore is designed to provide storage solutions that scale with increasing customer demand.