The Cloud: The Small And Midsize Business Secret To Becoming A Live Business

David Ludlow

Part 6 of “The Road to Live Business” series

Throughout this series, we have examined every aspect of running a live business. Whether we’re talking about analyzing data, surpassing larger competitors, or helping firms in low-connectivity countries succeed, the conversation inevitably turns to the cloud.

Why does this happen every single time? The reason is quite simple: The cloud is a delivery mechanism for solutions – such as advanced analytics, business networks, increased computing power, process automation, and a fully connected infrastructure – that were traditionally only afforded and used by large enterprises.

According to a recent study by Forbes Insights, “Doing Business in the Moment: How SMBs Run Live in the Digital Economy,” the barrier to accessing and implementing capabilities that are fundamental to small and midsize business success has dropped precipitously, thanks in large part to the cloud. However, it all depends on a careful approach when leveraging the technology.

Clearing a pathway to Live Business transformation

Technology is changing at a pace we’ve never experienced before. Just take a look at how expectations and demand for mobile access to information systems are skyrocketing, for example. In an on-premise infrastructure, the IT team would have to allocate resources to build, implement, and support a mobile app for a particular purpose. And on top of that, it would need to make sure that all mobile devices are secure at all times.

Your business can do the same thing in the cloud, but without tying up already-limited resources. Cloud providers offer various degrees of capabilities, from development to provisioning, authentication, and enrollment of applications. This approach frees up your IT team to respond with greater agility to changing business conditions, new opportunities, and risk while ensuring your brand delivers a personalized, consistent, and competitive customer experience.

While the cloud may sound like an ideal solution, do not mistake it as a panacea to bad business practices, complexity, and automatic modernization. If your firm takes existing processes, reporting, and applications to the cloud, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to transform and simplify. Consider this initiative as an invitation to rethink how your business can do things differently – run operations more efficiently; engage employees in meaningful, productive work; leverage supplier relationships effectively; and connect with customers in real time.

An opportunity to assess, reimagine, and win

Each business area has unique needs and a specific vision, and this is certainly true when moving to the cloud. Your company should consider critically evaluating the current situation, determining the ideal state of the organization to realize a sustainable advantage, and mapping out the path of the migration evolution.

This assessment should be done for each business area individually because no two are the same – their starting point is likely to be different, as well as their pain points and strategy. More important, your firm should follow a long-term road map with phased implementations and milestones, so it can readjust and take advantage of the latest innovations along the way.

With the latest technology at your fingertips, a new mindset, and in-the-moment agility, the cloud becomes your company’s key to transitioning into a Live Business that is highly competitive and positioned for growth now and in the future.

To learn how your business can become a Live Business, check out Forbes Insights’ recent report “Doing Business In-the-Moment: How SMBs Run Live in the Digital Economy.” Next week, we will share additional insights from this research. Be sure to check next Tuesday for the new installment to our blog series “


David Ludlow

About David Ludlow

David Ludlow is the Group Vice President at SAP Labs. His areas of expertise include product management, enterprise software, portfolio management, ERP, go-to-market strategy, business intelligence and cloud computing.