Many businesses launch with a founder and their laptop, and possibly one or two employees. Companies interested in growth however soon move past this startup phase. The team grows, and technology solutions in particular start to increase exponentially.
It’s at this point that many growing SMEs start to face a number of challenges. First, growth costs money, which eats into a business’s cash flow. In some cases, the cost of growth can even be prohibitive. Second, SMEs need to maintain the speed and agility of a startup while offering enterprise-level expertise and service. This requires the right toolset.
As partners in business transformation, Microsoft’s focus has always been on giving SMEs the same access to enterprise-level solutions as much larger entities, through an affordable, ‘pay as you grow’ model.
Here are six ways that Microsoft’s Hybrid Cloud solution, Azure is helping SMEs to grow without negatively impacting cash flow.
1. Backup and recovery. Azure offers analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and web solutions with integrated tools, pre-built templates and managed services, all of which give SMEs the ability to build and manage their personal or work applications quickly and easily, in a familiar Microsoft environment and operating system.
Users also have access to Azure servers, customer machines and Azure virtual machines that store data in compressed and encrypted formats, with replica data on-premise and other copies off-site regardless of a customer’s package.
2. Pay as you go. Azure is a flexible and open Cloud service platform, which essentially means that SMEs can pay for what they use and expand services and users as they grow allowing you to scale up or down, and only pay for what you use or when you need it. It’s a pay-as-you go service that offers per-minute billing with as much infrastructure, storage and bandwidth as you need. The per-minute billing is low and Azure’s infrastructure is enterprise-level, giving SMEs the same computing power as large corporates.
3. Security. Data protection is paramount, wither you’re the government, a large-scale enterprise, or an SME. In fact, South African SMEs are one of the largest targets for cyberattacks around the world. Historically, the Cloud has been viewed as unsafe. In order for Microsoft to offer an affordable Cloud solution to SMEs, security had to be a defining feature of Azure. Microsoft has therefore made an industry-leading commitment to the protection and privacy of user’s data regardless of your firm’s size or the package you are paying for.
Azure was the first Cloud provider to be recognised by the European Union’s data protection authorities for its seriousness about data safety and privacy, and was also the first to be ISO certified. Azure, under Azure Government, runs government applications including data for various governments around the world, and 95% of Fortune 500 companies run on Azure. This same level of security is yours, as an SME.
4. Mobility. In keeping with speed and agility, SME teams need to be able to work anywhere, anytime. Azure runs on a worldwide network of Microsoft-managed data centres across 54 regions. With this level of access and computing power, you can work on any of your applications on any device – from anywhere in the world.
5. Analytics. Growing SMEs require access to data and analytics. Metrics – and the ability to read them – informs key strategic decisions. Microsoft Azure has built-in, simple-to-use predictive analytics services, such as Machine Learning, Cortana Analytics and Stream Analytics that simplifies and helps you to interpret your data, allowing you to make smarter decisions faster and on a budget. This essentially gives SMEs access to enterprise-level business intelligence, improving your operations and customer service and easily identify new business opportunities.
6. Join the world’s biggest players. We might be on the tip of the African continent, but Azure’s customers, large and small, are served by the same support teams around the globe, regardless of the package they are on.
First Distribution is the leading value-added distributor in Africa. Our offering includes a product portfolio of global leading Datacentre, Cloud, Networking and Security products and services. This embraces hybrid solutions with access to any combination of on premise, private cloud and public cloud end-to-end solutions from multiple vendors.
The portfolio, together with highly skilled staff to support and manage vendors with an unrivalled level of expertise, ensures that our partners have the key elements required for success.
First Distribution additionally hosts one of the largest technology partner-to-partner networks in Africa allowing partners to extend the reach of their solutions across the continent.
Visit www.firstdistribution.com to find out more.