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Cloud Computing Is Meeting the “Enterprise” Needs of SMBs

But what is the definition of enterprise, really?

I have been in technology marketing since my career began, and there is one word that I have come to loathe because of its misuse by marketing and business leaders in technology - enterprise, (or enterprise-class). I'm guilty of using it - it's my job to ensure prospects know that we offer the best technologies available to handle complex workloads and applications.

But what is the definition of enterprise, really? A quick Bing search produces three definitions - commercial business, business activities directed at profit, and a daring new project. A quick search of the Gartner IT Glossary tells me the definition of enterprise-class is "a term referring to the ability of a given tool or product to handle complex processes or services."

In technology, we make broad statements about offering "enterprise" services, solutions, architectures, software, etc., yet the word is no more descriptive than saying we provide "company" services, solutions, software and so on. We have forgotten that, by definition, every business is an enterprise. And the enterprises that are taking on "daring new projects" and must drive a profit are most frequently small and medium-sized business (SMBs).

For hosting and infrastructure services companies, this means that the robust, redundant, complex architectures we have built for "enterprise" companies are needed more by innovative and fast-growth SMBs whose success is often completely dependent on technology or the Internet to drive the growth of their enterprise. More to the point: SMBs have a greater need for the "enterprise" solutions we have been developing than large companies.

If we can agree that every business is an enterprise - what do we offer SMBs to ensure that technology enables their growth? How can we provide enterprise-class technologies at a cost-effective price point to meet the very real, enterprise-class needs of SMBs?

Yesterday, Microsoft released cloud survey results that showed paid cloud services are expected to increase dramatically in the next five years among small and midsize businesses, with cloud services doubling overall, and tripling among the world's smallest companies.

For SMBs who have shied away from the cloud until now, the message is clear - other SMBs have tested the water, and they've found out that cloud hosting really is as good for them as it sounds: It's safe. It's cost-effective. It's reliable. Cloud computing provides SMBs with affordable access to a level of technology that used to be reserved for the heavy-hitters with big IT budgets - the so-called "enterprises."

More Stories By Aaron Hollobaugh

Aaron Hollobaugh is the Vice President of Marketing at Hostway Corporation. He has 4+ years of experience in the hosting industry and has provided thought leadership and advice in publications including CNNMoney, USAToday, CRN, ChannelPro, and Small Business Toolkit. Before joining Hostway, Aaron was the Vice President of Marketing at Hosting.com and lead marketing for a major SMB VAR.

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