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). SMEs represent 99.8% of the European enterprises. 92 % employ less than 10 people – the so-called micro-enterprises.
SMEs play a crucial role for economic and social stability at local and regional level, where SMEs are the “basic fibre” by providing goods and services for the daily life. 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. 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, harmonisation and economies of scale.
CloudingSMEs is providing 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. CloudingSMEs is committed to supporting 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
CloudingSMEs will also establish clear policy recommendations for the benefit of all European 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 only have to pay for what they use. In this way, SMEs can 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 reduce requirements for capital expenditure and 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).