Cloud services bring innumerable benefits to SMEs, as it offers the end user resources and a range of applications and services without the need for knowledge of the systems used, with minimal management and maintenance costs. SMEs save money on hardware, software upgradation, licensing and training.
Cloud computing gives SMEs access to a huge range of applications, which can be easily implemented and can be accessed from any computer, anywhere in the world. The enterprises can scale their storage needs without purchasing expensive programs, hardware or software licenses.
Cloud computing eliminates heavy investments in IT hardware systems. It is a great leveler, as it offers SMEs the latest technology at affordable rates, thus allowing them to compete with larger firms.
There are three classes of cloud computing services:
1. Software as a service (SaaS) - This range of applications is accessible via a web browser. SMEs can use:
o Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
o Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
o Supply Chain Management (SCM)
o Content, Communication and Collaboration (CCC)
2. Platform as a service (PaaS)- This provides a computing platform and a solution stack in which the SME controls software deployment and configuration settings while the service provider offers the networks, servers and storage.
3. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) - This can be used to avoid buying, housing, and managing the basic hardware and software infrastructure components.