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Spirit of Sharing – Cloud Technology and Small Businesses


Craig Cannon, LinkedIn, 28 Aug 2015

Air pollution

Open source sharing has many benefits, not least for smaller businesses. The speed at which technological solutions are developed has a direct impact on the way business is done, so David’s have to keep up with Goliath’s. Often without the resource and budget of bigger companies, there has been a gap for SME’s where they need, but don’t have access to, the latest advances. However, the solution can now often be found in the form of collaboration on cloud-based services.

Creating collaboration

There are some great examples cited here of why smaller businesses should opt for cloud computing and collaboration. They can be more fluid and flexible in it’s working practices and project management, but crucially also allows for sudden changes in scalability. There are also opportunities for smaller businesses to tap into a platform of shared knowledge. IBM’s SuperVessel is one example of an open access cloud service that gives businesses access to a range of expertise. Smaller businesses and start-ups can create and test innovative apps incorporating some of the most advanced technology including machine learning and the Internet of Things.

New age has the edge

The full capability of IBM Watson has powered numerous initiatives and projects for large corporations and governments. However, through the Watson ecosystem, IBM provides 25 services through the Developer Cloud that can help smaller businesses. Since the downturn in 2008, digital start-ups have increased year on year and one such company, Edge Up Sports embodies the modern start-up. Using the Watson services provided through the cloud, they have developed a fantasy football app that provides up-to-the-minute data on players, pulled from a number of sources. Edge Up is also in the spirit of collaboration, as they are funding product development through their Kickstarter campaign, allowing contributors to have early access to the app and a role in shaping it.

Long distance relationship

Sharing via cloud means that location isn’t an issue for small businesses in emerging economies or remote parts of the world. I have noted before that an Innovation Space in Nairobi, the first of its kind in Africa, allows local entrepreneurs to access all of IBM’s technology and business expertise. In September, IBM will launch its first SmartCamp for entrepreneurs in New Zealand. Start-ups in the country are being asked to participate in the one-day event where they receive mentoring and information about the innovation ecosystem. They will also pitch to a panel of experts and the winning start-up will have access to IBM cloud credits and the chance to attend key industry events. As Phil Sheehan, IBM New Zealand cloud partner executive says “The era of cloud opens up many new opportunities for New Zealand startups to go global, unhindered by physical distance from their customers.”