Not so long ago, the idea of sharing businesses resources was a very alien concept, outside of long-established partnerships at least. Companies were generally protective of their assets and intellectual property, wary that by sharing these things with other firms they left themselves vulnerable to their competitors.
Today, however, more businesses are showing a willingness to share their resources with others, particularly smaller organisations. Instead of being held back by fear, this decision is being driven forward by opportunity and the many advantages offered by sharing resources.
What exactly can you share?
One of the reasons that businesses were worried about sharing their resources is because they did not have enough trust in digital security tools. Even if you were comfortable sharing a particular part of your operations with another company over a wireless network, how could you be sure that other information would remain private? Fortunately, improvements to security is changing this aspect of business culture.
Cloud computing has encouraged sharing on a much greater scale than seen previously. Software, storage, infrastructure and many IT features can all be shared amongst multiple companies reliably, without security issues for any of the parties involved. What’s more, individual aspects of your business can also benefit by being shared. Shared website hosting and marketing analytics are just two of the areas where advantages are to be found. There are a number of sites offering a great guide to business website hosting and other shared business opportunities if you want to find out more.
Once you’re aware of the many ways that you can share resources, the next question that small businesses are likely to ask is “What’s in it for me?”
One of the main advantages of sharing resources is that it is more affordable. Instead of having to purchase all of your IT infrastructure outright at great cost, you usually pay a subscription fee to a cloud provider who simply allocates you the amount of resources that you need. For small businesses with small budgets this lets them compete on a more even playing field with more established competitors. You don’t need to build your own data centre, maintain or secure it – as these costs are all covered by the provider of your shared resources.
With shared resources, scaling up (or down) is achieved much more easily. Rather than having to purchase new IT hardware and software – or having resources that remain underutilised most of the time – businesses can simply adjust the subscription that they pay to their cloud provider.
With shared resources, businesses also have access to a feature known as “cloud bursting,” where periods of high demand see them switch from private to public cloud – giving them access to the additional bandwidth or storage that they require. Accessing these shared resources happens in real-time, meaning that your business can meet customer demand no matter how quickly it grows.
The ability to share business resources has come on a long way in the past few years, providing cost and convenience benefits. If businesses once had reservations about sharing, now is the time to reconsider them.