This article is not trying to get you to shift your whole business to the cloud. The real question right now for businesses is “how can I use the incremental benefits of opex based services to mitigate costs in growing my business?”

Apparently there is a hesitant upturn in the economy of late and if figures are to be believed it is gathering pace. However in the SME sector after hard years there is a stronger case for not over extending before the upturn takes hold or the business is there to support it.

So the battle begins, should we invest and buy now; the capex model? One thing that the downturn gave us was ingenuity, looking at different ways to deliver services and thus as companies now emerge this ingenuity enables them to take small steps rather than the classic capital investment.

Speaking with clients, opinion is mixed right now. For some a capex model still suits; for example charities where a gift that can be invested may be a one off chance. It is also true of local government where an asset sale or central Government grant may enable an investment to reduce longer term operating cost or capitalisation of assets may benefit their own balance sheets.

However in the wider SME community this is not the case and it appears to be more about keeping heads above water, mitigating spending and maximising the use of what they have. With tough operating conditions and hard profit targets continuing, an operating model delivers what is needed against the here and now.

What our clients are asking is – how can we extend our systems or “tag on” services at minimal cost?

Clients are telling us they are starting to recruit or consider new offerings. But right here and now they cannot afford capital investment and are looking at adding services on a ‘per user per month’ model. And now services are available which can facilitate this, without the need for a capital investment.

The consensus seems to suggest that a few good reasons for this approach are;

  • Enabling remote working – because of office downsizing, geographic location or practicality and being able to provide IT services wherever, whenever.
  • Cash flow – adopting a model which does not commit the business to an investment now without the income to support it.
  • Current systems – upgrading current systems is too expensive for the incremental increase of the users at this stage.
  • Proof of concept – the ideal opportunity to sample without incurring capital expenditure. In a way – try before you buy.

Whichever approach works for your company the services are now available to deliver incremental change at incremental cost and help build growth rather than stifle your ability to expand.