Cloud Adoption – Barriers, Opportunities and actions for SMEs in the cloud
CloudingSMEs takes a comprehensive approach to the use of cloud computing by SMEs, which considers both the supply side (i.e. results and endeavors of ICT SMEs with expertise on cloud computing) and the demand side (i.e. the adoption and use of cloud computing technologies by SMEs).
Market sector targets
CloudingSMEs is motivated by the need to lower the barriers associated with the adoption of cloud based solutions by SMEs, while also considering the need to facilitate SME providers of cloud solutions with the aim of sustaining and strengthening their positions in a very competitive cloud computing market. Specifically, the main motivating factors behind CloudingSMEs are:
- The unsatisfactory adoption rates of cloud computing technologies within SME communities, despite relevant benefits.
- The fact that SMEs need practical support in their cloud computing related decisions and initiatives.
- The potential of cloud computing technologies to boost competitiveness help SMEs grow and the need to unveil and boost this potential.
- The lack of market solutions focused on micro SME needs.
- The need for consolidating SME requirements as a means of achieving/boosting interoperability, harmonization and economies of scale
Addressing key concerns impeding the mainstream adoption of the cloud: privacy, security, trust
- The need to raise cloud awareness within SMEs, but also to make communications about the cloud more targeted, substantial and effective.
- Issues associated with the cost-effectiveness of the cloud for SMEs.
- The needs to simplify and make SLAs, contracts and procurements easily understandable for SMEs.
- Issues related to openness, transparency and avoidance of vendor lock-In.
- The need to abide by EU Privacy and Security Directives, but also to overall ensuring security and increase the trustworthiness of the cloud perceived by SMEs.
- The identification of opportunities for ICT SMEs in terms of niche cloud products and services.
Business models to take new services to market – including spin-outs and new services transferring publicly funded research to the private sector
Among the main objectives of CloudingSMEs is to provide support to SMEs that aim to adopt and/or exploit cloud computing, through a practical toolbox (i.e. the CloudingSMEs toolbox) that will facilitate their cloud-related decisions. In this direction the project is committed to support SMEs in contractual, legal and cost-related issues, including privacy and security issues. CloudingSMEs has already implemented, evaluated and fine-tuned on number of interactive tools, including:
- Cloud Security Scorecard
- TCO/ROI Calculator
- Strategic Considerations Scorecard
- Contents of Contracts and SLAs
- Cloud Standards Catalog
- SLA Guide
- Cloud Services and Solutions Providers Searchable Catalogue
- Qualify as Expert and Consultant
- Create your Knowledge Pyramide
- Create Multilingual Questionnaires and Surveys
Why cloud is a helping hand for SMEs?
Cloud Computing can help SMEs lower their IT costs by outsourcing IT services and obviating the need for in-house infrastructures. Furthermore, the pay-as-you-go nature of the cloud ensures that SMEs can pay for exactly what they use. In this way, SMEs can also transform the capital expenses (CAPEX) associated with IT infrastructure acquisition to operational expenses (OPEX) associated with usage-based billing.
Software-based services on a global scale greatly reduced requirements for capital expenditure lower operating costs (including energy costs). For SMEs this can be an element of their competitiveness (since it allows them to operate based on a reduced IT budget and with higher efficiencies).