Four Ways SMBs Can Overcome Software Compatibility Concerns with Cloud Computing
Anyone who has ever run a small or medium business (SMB) knows how some software can be both a blessing and an impediment. Perhaps you first read a positive review or had a staff member request a few licenses for your team. For a while, it worked perfectly and met your expectations.
But over time, the needs of the business changed and you outgrew the software, forcing it to do functions it could not manage. The team member who requested it might have left your company or moved onto a new internal role. Without an advocate and resources to manage it, the software soon got a reputation of being slow and difficult to use. But it became so ingrained in daily operations for years that updating it would cause significant business continuity issues. Sound familiar?
In this blog post, we will demystify business challenges and share the benefits of running the latest software in the cloud compared to on-premises. We will also outline four ways in which AWS Cloud is helping SMBs address challenges related to software upgrades.
Signs your SMB may need to upgrade its software
SMBs that use CRM, collaboration, or project management software, should be aware of what some warning signs are. It’s vital to address the following common software productivity issues that can be resolved with newer or better solutions:
- Frequently runs slowly
- Prone to bugs, cybersecurity issues, downtime, and fails more often
- Unable to scale with the number of employees or volume of customer transactions
- Lack of integration with other proprietary or third-party business apps
- Lack of automated reporting and analytics
- Cannot support regulatory requirements (such as compliance audits or data protection)
- No human or product-based support due to age
Difference between on-premises vs. cloud software
Now that you know what to look for, it’s important to understand that there are two ways in which an SMB might run its software: on-premises and in the cloud.
In an on-premises model, software is hosted and maintained on a company’s own devices, servers, or datacenters. If you’re fortunate enough to have IT staff—or work with a managed services provider—they oversee the infrastructure required to securely use your software. This is an older, less efficient way of running your business, because you need to maintain hardware, storage, and network devices upfront. You also configure and update the operating systems and software licenses.
In contrast, the cloud offers infrastructure, software, and services that are hosted virtually on the internet—no on-site datacenters required. You only pay for what you need with a cloud service provider (CSP) that handles security, updates, and product enhancements. The cloud infrastructure also allows you to use your favorite business apps from nearly any device or location.
Using legacy software and applications—whether it’s for resource planning, e-commerce, or more—can cause operational and business challenges. Look for opportunities to upgrade, migrate, and modernize applications in the cloud and start choosing products in the cloud, which can ultimately help you increase productivity.
A few ways SMBs can overcome their software compatibility issues with cloud technology
Amazon Web Services enables businesses of all sizes—including SMBs—to use the power of on-demand IT to scale their online presence, improve remote work, host apps, and much more.
With the following four approaches, SMBs can get current, scalable, secure, and cost-effective applications on the cloud with limited budget and IT resources.
1. Get pre-built applications and services
First, choose business applications and solutions that can be powered with little to zero effort in the cloud. SMBs such as yours need ready-to-use, pre-configured software and applications that fit their business needs. View pre-built solutions that work specifically for SMBs on AWS Marketplace. It’s a curated digital catalog where you can find third-party software and expert guidance to power your business. It offers flexible pricing, streamlines procurement, and simplifies how you manage software. There’s a strong chance the newest versions of your apps are already on Marketplace.
AWS Cloud also offers its own first-party software such as Amazon QuickSight for data visualizations and and no-code machine learning predictions on Amazon SageMaker Canvas. These require a bit more effort than third-party apps but have robust features depending on your specific use cases.
For example, SMB customer, Lion Parcel, gains faster data insights on AWS to enhance customer experience. They use both QuickSight and SageMaker Canvas to improve their business intelligence processes.
2. Invest in application migration and modernization
The second strategy is to identify workloads such as custom applications, websites, databases, and even entire data centers for migration and modernization in the cloud. Applications that SMBs should use today are vastly different from those used in the past. Prioritize upgrading and migrating the easiest applications first on the cloud. Move applications with straightforward integration and less dependencies on other systems. This allows you to get used to managing cloud apps before tackling more complex migrations. AWS provides modern technologies such as purpose-built databases, artificial intelligence, and more for faster and better application delivery. Post migration and modernization, customers realize business benefits such as innovation, speed-to-market, cost savings, and improved productivity.
For example, Maxeon Solar Technologies, is an SMB customer that was able to facilitate innovative, new digital projects on AWS Cloud. As an added benefit, it aligned with their own corporate sustainability goals.
3. Reduce software and service costs in the cloud
Design your own purchase plan and only pay for what you need. Choose ready-to-use applications, migrate existing ones, or modernize any workload from an on-prem environment or other public cloud. Every step along the way, you can use AWS experience to build your organizational, operational, and technical capabilities. It will help you achieve business benefits such as business agility, staff productivity, operational resilience, and cost savings. AWS continuously innovates and delivers the latest technologies across every solution area so that you can meet high performance needs and scale at a lower cost. The variety of AWS pricing options provide you with the flexibility without requiring long-term contracts or complex licensing. AWS offers a suite of cloud financial management tools to monitor your application cost and identify modernizing and rightsizing opportunities.
Olli Salumeria is an SMB customer that depends on the availability of its enterprise resource planning infrastructure. The company’s leadership determined that they needed a more robust disaster recovery solution for its SAP ERP workloads, which comprised 5 TB of data. On AWS, it saves 80 percent on disaster recovery for SAP ERP infrastructure.
4. Upgrade cybersecurity and software efforts simultaneously
A survey conducted by AWS found that while SMBs are prioritizing moving data to the cloud, they’re not equally prioritizing security. In fact, 35 percent of respondents answered that security wasn’t a strategic priority. Without it, businesses may be moving forward with a minimal security footprint. This is a big concern given the rise in frequency and complexity of cyber events aimed at SMBs.
By embracing cloud security, SMB customer, Wallester, has seen five times year-on-year organizational growth and expanded to multiple regions while keeping operational costs low.
There are a few key reasons why software upgrades are important, namely: better reliability, enhanced security, competitive pricing, and access to regular updates.
To overcome software compatibility concerns at on-prem, SMBs can start with ready-to-use applications in the cloud. In a future phase, SMBs can talk to AWS Partner Network consultants, who can help them scope long-term migration plans. If you don’t have an AWS account yet, you can reach us here. If you’re a current customer inspired to upgrade, contact your AWS account manager. We look forward to helping you create a smart business in the cloud.