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Information technology offers a nice boost for businesses of all sizes. Email marketing, social media, and mobile devices are just three forms of tech that can benefit virtually any organization irrespective of number of employees or bank account. However, there is some IT out there that looks like it was specially crafted for small businesses. This is technology larger companies are typically beyond having a need for.
1. SaaS Cloud Computing
SaaS or Software-as-as-Service, may be the most widely used form of cloud computing. Whether it’s analytics or customer relationship management, the SaaS model gives business users access to whatever apps they need from any web-enabled device. The company doesn’t buy the applications. They lease them on a pay-as-you-go basis, while the service provider handles updates, patches, and other maintenance aspects. This type of arrangement gives the company an opportunity to save money by not having to splurge on any software or hardware upfront. It also spares them the hassle of dealing with the technical burdens hidden behind running these enterprise applications.
The large established business usually has the financial resources to foot the bill for the expensive licensing fees attached to the software they need. Some even have the technical resources required to build their own applications from scratch. SaaS is proving to be particularly useful for smaller businesses that are lacking in both areas. A VentureBeat article examines how this cloud model is poised to revitalize the market of midsize companies, which has says has traditionally suffered from broken software solutions.
2. Web Hosting
You ever wonder what it takes to get a website up and running on the internet? A whole lot of technical stuff. In addition to web design expertise, you need a specific list of ingredients that include:
A dedicated connection to the net. Reliable high-speed internet is necessary in order to ensure that your website is available to customers and prospects around the clock. On the low end of the spectrum, you could end up paying a couple hundred bucks per month for DSL, or thousands per month for the high-end T1 lines the corporate big dogs use.
A web server. Although it is often used to describe physical hardware, a web server is actually the piece of software that runs your website. Apache, the most popular web server, is free, but those who prefer the familiarity of something more well known end up paying handsomely for products such as Microsoft IIS, which is bundled in server editions of Windows.
Physical hardware. The physical hardware comes into play by running the server application that runs your website. Your typical desktop PC isn’t going to cut it. You need a high-powered machine loaded with plenty of disk space, CPU, and memory to support your visitors and make sure they have a quality experience.
Website administration. Managing a website is no easy chore. In order to keep that site up and running, it often takes an IT specialist that is well versed in server administration, programming languages, security, and much more.
All these ingredients combine to create a recipe that makes hosting a website both expensive and technically challenging. Many larger companies are financially stable enough to handle these responsibilities internally – bandwidth, software, hardware, administration and all. Thankfully for small businesses, there’s web hosting. With a web hosting service, companies that can’t afford to build and maintain such a complex IT infrastructure in-house can get everything they need by leasing them through a monthly or yearly subscription plan. I pay $80 a year for my plan, so that gives you an idea how cost effective this type of service really is.
The actual concept of crowdsourcing has been around for ages. According to this piece on Crowdsource.com, its origins date all the way back to the early 1700s. Crowdsourcing as we define it today is one of those trends that would appear to be a perfect fit for small businesses. By leveraging platforms like KickStarter, social media, and the online community in general, resource-strapped companies can milk this trend to drive initiatives built around gathering feedback, designing products, and even raising funds. Web giants like eBay have tapped into crowdsourcing to boost engagement, but other than that, it’s more like an optional luxury for bigger brands.
Walk away remembering that these three information technology examples are merely generalities. Larger companies have and will continue to invest in crowdsourcing, SaaS clouds, and hosting their websites, which done the organic way, can be a costly expense for the most financially endowed organization. But that’s what’s great about technology. It’s amazingly diverse and flexible enough to accommodate the needs of many.
Like this article? Learn more about the current state of cloud computing.