Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Canada need to be proactive to overcome the barriers to adopting new technology.

It’s a challenge for SMBs to develop a cloud strategy when many are just trying to keep their head above water, said Synnapex President and CEO Yoon-Soon Kim during a recent ITWC webinar. As a result, they tend to fall behind on technology.

However, in today’s fast-paced economy, it’s vitally important for a company to get ahead of the curve and stay there so it doesn’t end up in a do-or-die situation. “Fix the roof while the sun is shining,” said Kim, quoting Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma. “You don’t want to be up there when a storm is coming.”

What SMBs can do to get ahead

A proactive mindset is the first step to moving forward with cloud, said Kim. SMBs need to develop an understanding that they have a bona fide need to adopt certain technologies, and to appreciate how much IT could help them succeed.

Cloud offers many benefits for SMBs, said Kim. According to TrendMicro, SMB cloud users spend 11 per cent less on IT than non-cloud users. The pay-as you go cost structure of a cloud service and the ability to access on-demand software and hardware gives SMBs greater flexibility to adjust to changing market needs, said Kim. It also provides the expertise to manage an SMB’s IT and to make sure its data is secure.

The next step for SMBs is to expand their capacity and bench strength by using partners. “It’s important to have the right partner to help educate, to help bridge the knowledge and expertise gap, and to help evolve the business.”

“You don’t need to know the answer; you just need to know that you’re moving in the right direction. The right partner can help you find that answer. Having the right partner you can lean on and ask questions of … is of huge benefit. Time is money, and having access to the right resources at the right time can definitely help you out.”

How to choose the right partner

Selecting the right partner can be tricky, admitted Kim.

“A lot of SMBs will tend to go with price first. But this is often not the best way to go. You have to understand what you’re getting. The first thing for me is to find a trusted advisor. I know that’s easier said than done. You don’t want someone telling you what to do. The relationship should be a two-way street.”

Kim advised looking for certain key qualities: a partner who listens to you, who understands your business, and who pays attention to you. However, a company must also understand its partner’s company. “Meet the team, meet management,” he advised. “”They’re the ones who are going to do the work.” The last thing a company needs or wants is to buy a product, find out everything is outsourced, and then get “some random guy showing up on your doorstep the next day.”

View the webinar on demand