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Virtualisation: A powerful driver for small business efficiency

Virtualisation is the paradigm of the moment. From cloud computing to communications solutions and virtual offices, it’s delivering a wide array of benefits – including lower costs, improved flexibility and an increasing ability to expand.

Its premise is efficiency: the power to extract the most from any resource by sharing its cost between different users.

And, with new business failure rates somewhere around 9 in 10, it’s a tool that offers a compelling way to improve the chances of success.

Key benefits include:

Reduced costs

Virtualisation is the innovation behind cloud computing – something that is bringing enterprise-level software and infrastructure services to SMEs at a fraction of their former cost.

Pay as you go pricing

On the same front, virtual services go hand-in-hand with pay-as-you-go pricing models. This is delivering better alignment between outgoings and actual needs.

Anywhere/anytime

From IT systems to offices, virtual services are potential game changers when it comes to how and where your business operates. National and even international infrastructures can now be deployed quickly and at comparatively low costs.

Changing expectations

Thanks to virtualisation, old expectations about what constitutes a business are fading and efficiency is becoming increasingly valued.

For example, the idea of a fixed office with a full-time receptionist there only to answer calls and perform routine tasks seems increasingly extravagant.

Instead, an approach in which small businesses seize the opportunities created by virtualisation to operate from home, an office and everywhere in between now makes much better sense.

It’s not the death of the traditional office – which still has benefits for credibility and customer perception. But it is about becoming less geographically trapped and more responsive by harnessing mobile and cloud technologies.

Enabling rapid growth and better customer service

Two less often talked about benefits of virtualisation are its power for expansion and service.

From home to the CBD, to Beijing or Dubai, virtualisation allows businesses to hit the ground running in new markets. (This is especially so for SMEs, who don’t carry the same inflexible legacy infrastructures as their larger competitors.)

Furthermore, virtualisation can also make for the delivery of more responsive customer service. How? Shift your sales and support systems to the cloud, for example, and customers who prefer to can serve themselves.

What virtualisation delivers

From computing to office space, virtualisation is creating new and more efficient methods for SMEs to operate, delivering what are arguably much better services via pricing models that take the axe to up-front expenses.

After lower costs, improved mobility, flexibility and business capabilities are just some of the benefits to be had.

In sum, SMEs who embrace virtualisation in all its guises can create much leaner and more responsive enterprises – business that are able to move into new markets more quickly while delivering better service.

In the long term, it’s hard to see businesses who ignore it being anything but overrun by more nimble competitors.