I have a dog, he is a small dog, he wasn’t supposed to be, and he doesn’t see himself as small! He is fast, agile and has the heart of an Alsatian!

Just as Bolt  makes up for his small size with speed and agility, cloud can do the same thing for Small Medium Enterprises (SME).

By their nature SMEs are agile. Decisions aren’t made by a committee because there is no committee. Often they are local and have great relationships with the customer which in turn drives loyalty and helps to maintain business.

However, as the world digitizes, and customer expectations rise the SMEs must rise to the challenge. They need to take what they are good at and adapt it to the digital world.

I believe digitization is a fantastic opportunity for the Service Providers (SP).  The scale and coverage that the SP offer can be used to bundle a disparate suite of technologies to give the SME that extra bite they need. The SP can offer so much more than just a connection. Bundling services together into one offer, that is billed monthly and easily expanded and contracted makes them truly accessible to SMEs.

If SMEs have not already start to leverage cloud capabilities, they need to start. Cloud services can be a great leveller as the features and functions of sophisticated applications usually the preserve of the large enterprise are available to SMEs at scale in an economically viable way.

For instance, previously an SME may have had a few phone lines or maybe a key system. The answer phone needed to be checked, and notes were passed around the office. With cloud collaboration, the SME can get all the sophisticated features of an advanced collaboration experience in or out of the office, which in turn drives productivity, speeds up decision making and provides a better customers experience. In fact, one could argue that like my dog, the SME can channel it’s inner Alsatian and appear to be a larger organization than they are.

Cisco plays a part in cloud collaboration by offering advanced collaboration experiences that range from simple telephony through to advanced multi-channel contact center experiences.

To leverage this new suite of tools, SMEs must have a secure and reliable connection to the Internet. Many companies now leverage the “gig economy” to purchase expertise and additional resources when needed. Those individuals such as contractors or consultants need the same level of access and security as full time employees. Providing a spare laptop or giving them access to the office WiFi is not sustainable for security and legal reasons. One breach of a payment system or personal data can cost the SME a large percentage of its turnover plus remediation costs.

Firewalls as we know, are only as good as the rules they’re programmed with and the skill of the person programming them.

Once again Cisco is thinking about these challenges. Our Meraki Go coupled with Umbrella security solutions offer the levels of connectivity and security required to so support a flexible workforce.

But why stop in the office? These tools are designed to allow you to work anywhere on any devices, whether using a 4G or 5G device in a coffee shop or customer location, at home or on the move, collaboration tools and applications are available securely everywhere.

Which brings us to connectivity, often the runt of the litter, but massively important! As I mentioned in a previous blog none of this is possible without an underlying network. Superfast broadband and 4G mobile connections have transformed how we engage with one another and businesses.

So, if you put all this together, you can see that there is opportunity for the SME to grow and be more productive while maintaining security. SPs can provide more than just connectivity; they can provide a full range of services that can bring out a SME’s inner Alsatian


Dominic Elliott

Chief Technology Officer

Global Service Provider - Northern Europe