AWS Smart Business Blog

How Small and Medium Businesses Can Access On-Demand IT Project Support

Did you know that the biggest risk for companies to achieve their business objectives is lack of access to human talent? According to a Gartner survey, executives put a talent shortage as a leading issue ahead of implementation costs and security risks. It revealed that lack of talent is the biggest barrier to adopting 64 percent of emerging technology. Be it entering new markets, differentiating business capabilities, improving business functions, or realizing other business outcomes; access to skilled human resources plays an important role in any company’s growth.

As companies move to the cloud, they benefit from cost savings, scalability, and security. Cloud computing also enables companies to globalize or scale down their IT infrastructure as needed, instead of committing to large upfront investments. As more and more large companies are able to achieve their business objectives faster through cloud, small and medium businesses (SMBs) are uniquely challenged for implementing their company’s vision due to lack of access to the required skilled workforce. This limits businesses of all shapes and sizes from realizing the benefits of cloud and makes it difficult for SMBs to compete with larger companies that can offer higher compensation.

What IT challenges do SMBs face?

Speaking to our SMB customers on a daily basis reveals various challenges. Many of the issues are related directly or indirectly to the IT talent shortage. Often times, plans are ready to be executed, but they can’t find the resources to begin.

Attracting top talent

SMBs are especially challenged with recruiting and retaining talent with essential technical and cloud skillsets. According to labor and economics research firm Emsi, in a Wall Street Journal article [subscription required], 775,022 cloud computing jobs were posted in 2020 compared to 400,500 posted in 2017—a 94 percent increase targeting a small pool of experienced talent. This challenges SMBs to hire full-time cloud experts economically.

Short-term project opportunities

Even if the scope of a project is smaller, SMBs need to either hire for the longer term or sign long-term contracts with IT consulting firms. At times, smaller projects fail to attract large system integrators. This challenges SMBs to find IT experts who can scale services up and down as their business needs change.

Time to market

Although Amazon Web Services provides access to free SMB trainings and consultations, upskilling or hiring can lead to delays, or at times, lost business opportunities. “Organizational timelines for cloud adoption, cloud migration and cloud maturity are being impacted by the inability to hire and retain the people with the necessary qualifications,” said Lydia Leong in her Gartner blog post.

Cloud-optimized solutions

Many migrations are started with “lift and shift,” which is quite literally taking existing on-premises data and placing it the cloud, but it’s not optimized to fully utilize the power of AWS. Similarly, due to lack of experience, some customers have cloud environments which do not follow the best practices. This affects the workload performance, security, and cost; among other aspects, and is not suitable for business growth in the long term. At AWS, when we provide customers with optimization plans, we often hear how their IT teams do not have the cycles to optimize cloud workloads. This of course is a bigger challenge if you’re an SMB that doesn’t even have dedicated IT staff.

AWS Certified freelancer video chatting with his customers in an office setting

How are SMBs addressing IT project challenges?

Our SMB customers tell us about the need for cost-effective, qualified, and flexible IT experts who can implement their business initiatives and bring their ideas to fruition. AWS IQ offers on-demand access to a vast network of AWS experts by providing a marketplace that aligns with the needs of SMBs. Customers can post requests at no cost for AWS-related help and receive responses from AWS Certified experts and partners within minutes. This enables SMBs to buy a solution and achieve their business goals within shorter timelines and tighter budget constraints. All you need to get started is a free AWS account. Learn more about the service now.

With multiple experts to choose from, AWS customers can select the provider who best suits their project needs. Moreover, the service has a built-in process to grant, monitor, and control experts’ access to your AWS account. As project milestones are met, you can pay securely directly through your AWS account. This integrated experience enables you to move from a request to a completed project quickly. The speed, value, and quality of assistance available through these AWS subject matter experts helps SMBs realize value from the cloud quickly.

Learn more from your SMB peers in industries such as travel, healthcare, media, finance and more. Seek inspiration and get exclusive offers in the AWS Connected Community

How can SMBs work with AWS on their next IT project?

Adopting the cloud is an evolving journey which requires a shift in mindset and staff upskilling. During this journey, SMBs might find shortcomings in certain skillsets, requiring time and effort to learn. SMBs can fill such gaps quickly by getting access to a wide selection of professionals who are certified for AWS-related technologies. The average time for first response with AWS on-demand IT support is within minutes, which expedites the process of accessing talent, and going from discussing project requirements to realizing business value faster. Additionally, connecting with experts who are vetted by AWS helps businesses gain confidence in their IT investments. With an average customer satisfaction score of 4.9 out of 5, AWS on-demand experts have enabled thousands of SMBs to achieve their business goals through AWS.

Chase Pierson is an SMB customer who serves as Principal of Scan2Plan—an architecture and planning firm based in Troy, New York, US. He said, “Our AWS IQ experts provided outstanding service and completed all tasks thoroughly and quickly. We look forward to working with them in the future whenever we have additional IT and/or app development needs.”

Our SMB customers gain value from the simplicity that the service offers. You can make a request, receive offers, agree on a project, pay for the implementation, and provide access to your AWS account; all within AWS IQ. Streamlined communication makes it easy for customers to collaborate and stay up-to-date on the project progress. Similarly, comparing multiple project implementation offers from different experts provides a cost-effective and transparent mechanism to drive faster decisions.

What are some examples of how SMBs can use AWS IT project support?

Imagine your team is busy with day-to-day tasks with no bandwidth to implement cost optimization recommendations. Or, you want to migrate an existing business application, but you do not have the expertise in-house. AWS lets you supplement the skills in your organization or hire experts on-demand to undertake projects from end-to-end. These experts can help you in variety of use cases, ranging from cost optimization, migrating applications, improving security, cloud storage, and more.

These are some of the case studies that have been implemented via AWS IQ:

Next steps

By leveraging a service for engaging on-demand project experts, SMBs have been able to expedite their business outcomes and realize cloud benefits sooner. Working with experienced AWS professionals, businesses are mitigating IT risks, innovating faster, and serving their customers better. Take a closer look at how we can help your business implement your IT projects faster.

Girish Sukhatankar

Girish Sukhatankar

Girish is a Sr. Solutions Architect at AWS, based in Dallas, TX, US. He enjoys helping SMBs achieve their business goals through innovation and technology. Girish holds a MS in Telecommunications from University of Colorado Boulder, specializing in Computer Networking. Outside of work, you can find him playing soccer, volleyball, or table tennis.

NS Housain

NS Housain

NS is a Solutions Architect at AWS based in Dallas, TX, US. With a focus on SMB customers, he is passionate about helping businesses grow and succeed by designing and implementing scalable, secure, and cost-effective solutions on AWS. He holds a Master’s degree in Computer and Information Engineering from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).