More and more small businesses are moving to the cloud. According to a recent survey from BT Business and the British Chambers of Commerce, cloud usage among UK SMBs has grown by 15% year on year to 69%, while more than half of respondents cite cloud computing as crucial in driving business flexibility.
Take app development house All Things Code. The Northamptonshire-based firm, in business less than two years and with only six employees, has deployed iland’s Enterprise Cloud Services (ECS) to host its applications and become ‘the backbone of its IT infrastructure’.
The startup moved over to ECS approximately six months ago and Dan Harding, co-founder and director of All Things Code, argues the importance of cloud solutions not just for his business but others in the same boat. He tells CloudTech: “I think all of these cloud-based systems [have] given a startup business enterprise facilities at sensible prices, so we’d get a huge leg up with regards to not having to wait five years before we can buy the real kit and the proper software systems.”
iland was chosen by All Things Code not just because of its credibility in the market, but also because of their links to the familiar infrastructure of VMware from a previous business. “The actual deployment process, and actually being able to spin up and manage the servers as well…was definitely a tick box for us,” Harding explains. “It was on a platform I knew from a higher business perspective.”
He adds: “We may be able to talk tech and we know the industry, but as far as physically deploying and being experts in the nitty-gritty technical and deployment side of it is not our area of expertise, so we’d always felt that when we had a question or we were out of our depth…a quick question to the team there gave us the confidence to top up our lack of skill sets in that technical area.”
Regular readers of CloudTech may remember Houston-based iland from a survey they conducted in June where customers felt they weren’t being properly treated by their providers. One statistic which stood out like a sore thumb was the 45% of respondents who agreed with the statement ‘if I were a bigger customer, my cloud provider would care more about my success.’
Lilac Schoenbeck, VP product marketing and product management, notes: “We actually strive to work with [SMBs] a great deal. The nice thing is that it really pushes us to think through a lot of elements of the platform that otherwise are easy to perhaps ignore as a company.
“It’s not like a smaller company has resources to commit one or two people to full-time cloud management,” she adds. “They need to be able to manage their system very seamlessly, very quickly, without any hurdles associated with usability, interpreting information the system’s telling them, and so forth.”
For Harding, the fact iland visited the site in Northamptonshire, sat the team round a table and ‘held our hand through it’ was a boon. He explains: “Being just a year old and our customers we’ve worked really hard to get on board, it was a big deal for us even though it was probably” – he pauses – “it isn’t probably, it was definitely not a big deal to iland, the size of the project.”
Schoenbeck adds: “As an organisation we don’t think ‘how big is that customer’s bill every month?’ and funnel them into a different support queue. If we’re invested in the growth of our customers and that ultimately shall drive the growth of their cloud footprint, then we shouldn’t be caring about how much they’re paying at the end of every month – we try and treat everybody equally.”
Overall, moving to a cloud-based system was an easy decision for Harding for multiple reasons. “I think it really gives us a bit of a leg up with regards to credibility,” he explains. “If we were to go and buy the same amount of hardware and have it ourselves, it would have been out of our price range, and we just haven’t got the facilities to have it securely and well cooled.
“I think if anything it gave us an element of enterprise level backup with regards to what we could push and who we could push our services to.”