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Leveling the Field

July 24, 2012
Level Playing Field

Cloud computing can level the field between large and small businesses

I like small companies. If I had my choice, I’d prefer to work in a small company rather than a large one. I get to know more people, there’s less friction to getting things done, people can make decisions, and I get to do more cool stuff. My budget is smaller, but creativity is often encouraged when solving problems. As I read about some of the cool stuff that startups are doing, it reminds me of a few places I’ve worked.

One of the challenges with small companies and their software has always been cost. A lot of companies look to Open Source products to cut down on their investments for this reason. However if there weren’t such a high price to the software, I think many companies would go with the “brands” of software that many of us work with every day.

I remember working for a small company and being in charge of rewriting their inventory and sales system. As we were preparing to program the system, an SAP sales rep called our company and made a pitch to the owner. He was impressed and we spent a few weeks looking at SAP. We knew we couldn’t afford the full SAP software, much less purchasing the multiple servers it would take to run it, but SAP had just released a cut-down version of their software, running on one server, for small businesses. We didn’t buy it then, and I’m glad because we had a unique business model that really benefited from custom programming.

These days all sorts of companies are looking to get started in new areas, or trying new ideas. Many of them don’t necessarily want to make large IT investments. It’s not only hardware and software, but also the IT expertise to manage the systems. If I were starting a business, or even working with a small business as a developer, I’d seriously consider cloud services. The breadth of offerings and features, the low investment cost, and lack of administration needed really level the playing field between what a small company and a large one can do with technology.

There are opportunities here. If you’re looking to work with a small business, or start one of your own, look at cloud offerings. You might be surprised what you can get for very little initial investment.

Steve Jones


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