Cloud security and setting up a mobile workforce are the two major technology hurdles faced by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
That is according to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) chief technologist of SMBs, Marcus Bentley, who was speaking at V3’s sibling site Computing’s web seminar discussing How SMBs can punch above their weight in the new economy.
Bentley said that SMBs "need imagination" and to step back and see the context in which they are operating. He said businesses should also look externally to achieve their targets.
"I've seen a lot of businesses forgetting about service level. If I pick up the phone to them, are they going to get back to me in 20 minutes, a couple of hours - or days?" he asked.
Bentley added that, thanks to new types of service providers, SMBs that don't have the budget to build bespoke systems themselves can rely on partners or new niche types of services.
"There are big service providers such as Amazon, Azure and Google, and then there are medium-sized ones which are a bit more niche. So SMBs can get something not necessarily off-the-shelf, that's a bit different," he said.
Intel's chief strategist and architect, Jim Henrys, suggested the biggest challenge for SMBs is to keep up with the pace of change in the industry.
He gave the example of companies that are trying to adapt agile practices, with open working areas, Post-it walls and whiteboards, and suggested that while this could encourage collaboration, SMBs had to think about how they can extend these practices to the way they work with external partners, for example, sharing the ideas from a whiteboard or Post-it wall with a partnering business.
He said for this to happen, IT needed to not just be aligned to the business, but actually intertwined with it, and with every employee being technology literate.
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