Whilst there are no shortage of challenges when it comes to scaling an SME in the UK, there are a number that we hear about more often than others. IT often forms the foundation of any modern business, and yet is consistently viewed as a burden rather than an opportunity. But building a strong IT foundation early on can make the journey to the top much smoother if done correctly, freeing up time to focus on developing the core business and increasing profit.
At Cloud Gateway, we love SMEs. Our technology and our business is built around easily facilitating flexibility and agility – essential in order to flourish as an SME. Keeping growth as simple and pain free as possible.
In this blog, we look at the 3 most common IT challenges that we see SMEs facing and share some ideas on how to overcome them.
For a lot of SMEs the focus is on generating revenue and growing the business, with operational efficiency as somewhat of a necessary evil to facilitate this. Whilst SMEs have in-house IT, as a department IT resource is often sacrificed in place of sales or marketing to aid revenue growth. With this absence of sufficient IT resources comes a lack of investment which leads to a further lack of resource and the cycle continues.
Working with a partner who can supply expertise and fully manage specialised parts of your IT without having to hire full time staff can reduce challenges associated with skills shortages. Not only does this take away the headache of having to manage networking and security components, but you also benefit from your partners R&D. This can translate to more time to focus on product/service development, business growth and often increasing productivity.
Scalability & flexibility
This skills shortage and lack of investment can make it difficult to keep ahead of the curve. Having the ability to be able to react quickly to new opportunities in their market would be invaluable to SMEs looking to grow their business.
Having IT estates and networks that have grown organically as a result of necessity rather than strategy risks an SME being unable to react as required. This makes it paramount for SMEs to be able to seamlessly adopt new innovation and have the right blend of infrastructure – be it traditional or cloud – within their networks. This also allows for sufficient fluidity of operations, without sacrificing productivity. Partnering with the right organisation and utilising the right technology to create a flexible foundation can mean faster and more calculated transformation when necessary.
Security & compliance
The importance of both robust security to protect an SME, and meeting compliance requirements to continue to do business, should not be underestimated. SMEs are often an attractive target for hackers and cyber criminals due to less mature security resources compared to a larger business. This can make it difficult to even identify security requirements let alone procure the appropriate technology to protect the business.
Addressing foundational security and compliance challenges, alongside the new set of remote working security challenges as a result of COVID, pulls focus from profit and growth. IT and network security can become complicated quickly, and having an expert on hand to help guide you through this space can be invaluable. A Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution allows organisations to securely and seamlessly connect their IT estate. The organisation can be assured that they are protected with ubiquitous security, through a centralised policy being enforced across their entire estate.
By working with a trusted partner who can not only supply expertise to help to identify requirements but also provide the technology, such as a SASE solution, for a flexible network and security foundation, SMEs have the tools they need to grow and future-proof their business. A move to the cloud brings opportunities to reduce the costs associated with IT and invest in growth, be it product/service development or geographical expansion. With these foundations in place, SMEs are primed to accelerate their growth, boost revenue and increase market share.