4 Tech Solutions Helping SMBs Thrive


When SMBs approach the cloud as an operational model, they can unlock their full potential and become truly digital-first organizations.

Global financial challenges, political tensions, and health and environmental emergencies have all contributed to systemic market changes over the past three years. The results include inflation, supply chain issues, an IT skills gap, and labor shortages, all creating significant disruptions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

To thrive in this environment and beyond, SMBs will need to rethink their business processes, operations, and customer engagement strategies. It’s now more vital than ever for SMB leaders to focus on technology solutions that unite all these critical elements under one roof in order to anticipate and meet business and customer needs.

SMBs that are getting ahead despite current obstacles are doing exactly this—they’re taking advantage of exciting developments in automation, data management, flexible software services, and more. And as a result, they’re fully embracing what the cloud has to offer.

Let’s discuss four key technology directives that SMBs can focus on to succeed in this changing market.

Automate to achieve more

SMBs have always faced unique challenges in identifying, hiring, and retaining top talent. Shifts in market conditions over the past few years have exacerbated this issue, putting additional pressure on the existing workforce to meet escalating business demands. For many SMBs, automation can provide exactly the support they need to thrive in the coming years.

Developments in AI and ML have significantly expanded the ability of digital tools to supplement and enhance work in a wide range of fields. Investing in automation can help reduce the time staff spends on repetitive or menial tasks and amplify the impact of more sophisticated work.

To consider just one example, low-code and no-code software can now provide teams with comprehensive software development resources. These tools can boost the productivity of engineers, allowing them to optimize their output while also enabling team members with less engineering experience to contribute to ideation, production, and iteration processes.

Automated services will also help companies make the most of their budgets: market intelligence firm IDC projects that 65% of all organizations, including SMBs, will save $1M+ per year via automation by 2027.

See also: Even Partial Automation Can Accelerate a Digital Transformation Journey

Track metrics to optimize business performance

Many SMBs still spend hours every week updating spreadsheets to manually track performance indicators, expenses, and other data. While keeping tabs on this data is essential, firms now have far more robust options available to them to accomplish all this and more. And with a modern data collection and management approach, an SMB can turn its data into one of its most valuable assets.

Business leaders looking to modernize their operations should consider migrating key data from spreadsheets and other local documents to cloud-based services. These platforms can automatically ingest a company’s data, measure relevant metrics, and provide insight into the value being generated by core business functions. They also enable companies to monitor their data over time, so business performance can be evaluated with full context.

In addition, SMBs can expand their horizons to gather information about their broader ecosystem, including partner networks, market conditions, and potential environmental pressures. Although companies can’t control these externalities, they can pair this knowledge with their internal metrics to generate data-driven, actionable insights.

By tracking metrics in this manner, business leaders can streamline their efforts and make better, more informed decisions about new product offerings, R&D, staffing, marketing, and finances. A data-driven perspective on the future of a business can elevate performance across the board.

Embrace everything as a service

Uncertainty looms large in most macroeconomic forecasts for the next 12 to 18 months. This means that businesses of all sizes will continue to focus on managing costs as effectively as possible for the foreseeable future. Business leaders looking to maximize their impact from their budgets should leverage the most important benefit of subscriptions as a service (aaS): only paying for what they need.

Companies may be most familiar with the concept of aaS through software-as-a-service (SaaS) options. However, it actually encompasses any products, tools, and technologies that vendors deliver to users as a service over a network instead of providing them locally or on-site. Adopting aaS solutions will result in significant and sustained reductions in operational burdens and will increase access to innovative technologies.

A critical benefit of this realignment toward aaS solutions is that it allows companies to fine-tune their spending. Conventional IT services often require paying according to predetermined packages—a business will be charged for a certain amount of product regardless of how much of that product they actually use.

Subscription-based IT platforms have greater flexibility. By monitoring service usage and allocating it dynamically as needed, aaS vendors are able to charge their customers based on actual usage. This can lead to meaningful cost reductions and can free up valuable resources for other purposes. With less of their budget committed to unused IT resources, SMBs will be better equipped to pursue more innovative ideas and respond to market forces.

The cloud is the great enabler

With these tools in their belt, SMBs will no longer see the cloud as just a location for data storage and access—instead, they’ll recognize it as the premier enabler of their technological success. Businesses can leverage the agility provided by the cloud to quickly deliver at scale in response to the evolving demands of internal and external stakeholders.

Over the next two years, we’ll see a significant increase in in-house IT teams developing new cloud-centric models to help ensure the seamless adoption of services like purpose-built data stores and performance-intensive computing.

Until now, SMBs have generally adopted cloud solutions to reduce capital expenditures and drive efficiency. By contrast, larger organizations have sought to derive greater value by modernizing applications and infrastructure, launching new digital products and services, and adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based technologies.

Going forward, an SMB’s approach to the cloud will start to resemble that of its larger counterparts. As cloud computing services become more affordable and more flexible—offering companies the ability to spend only on the capacity needed rather than on expensive, fixed packages—firms of all sizes will begin to explore the opportunities afforded by cloud infrastructures. They’ll use these new capabilities to better respond to customer demands and better prepare for potential disruptions. And they’ll lessen their investments in conventional on-site IT solutions as a result.

Businesses without in-house IT talent won’t simply be left behind. They’ll be able to use cloud partners to help develop tailored solutions, adopt more customer-centric computing processes, and streamline their operations.

Become a digital-first organization

When SMBs approach the cloud as an operational model, they can unlock their full potential and become truly digital-first organizations.

A digital-first perspective on cloud technology will be essential for businesses that aim to emerge from this period of uncertainty with even greater agility and responsiveness than before. And those firms that continue to invest in strengthening their position in the cloud will be better prepared for whatever new challenges the future might bring.

Ben Schreiner

About Ben Schreiner

Ben Schreiner, Head of Business Innovation, US SMB, Amazon Web Services (AWS), brings an unusual blend of Global, Fortune 500 and tech startup experience both as a technology customer and provider to his work at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He has been advising CIOs and business leaders for over 20 years, his knowledge culminates as an empathetic senior trusted advisor focused on strategic customer outcomes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *