The benefits of cloud technology are spreading from Amazon to the smallest family-run companies in the US.
Down in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey is considering a state law that would require agencies to shift their IT resources to the cloud. If passed, it would be a significant step forward for the state and spark a new era of innovation in government services.
It would also set a precedent for other states to follow, helping to accelerate the pace of innovation in the US, again.
Cloud drives so much more than we can ever begin to explain. Think about every single app on your phone - and that's barely scraping the surface.
Cloud technology is erasing borders, redistributing the labor market and giving rise to new business opportunities in areas that once relied on the land for income. In the past 200 years the US has transformed from an agrarian society, to an industrial-based economy where we could mass produce cars and components.
And much like the way the Dotcom explosion revolutionized the ease with which entrepreneurs established their businesses; cloud-computing looks to transform how these businesses can run in an efficient, safe, and cost-effective way. That shift is being driven by the ubiquitous nature of the cloud which is opening opportunities up to the areas with the fastest broadband.
AT&T announced earlier this month that it was expanding its GigaPower service so people in parts of Santa Clara, San Ramon, Mountain View and Dublin will be able to have Internet capable of download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
Xero CEO and founder, Rod Drury, recently stated that it's taken less than 10 years for cloud technology to surpass the desktop.
"We are anticipating there will be more innovation over the next three years than there has been in the last 10. The vision of a truly connected business is not only now possible, but the foundations are in place," he said.
With governments, major technology companies and both public and private enterprise now starting to mandate the move to the cloud, the broader industry shift is starting to trickle down to the smallest of businesses.
Arizona-based accountant, Chris Morris explained that moving to the cloud helps his small business clients to comprehensively stay on-top of the financial side of their operations.
"Instead of having to sit down at a desktop computer or schedule a meeting with their accountant, my clients can see the status of an invoice through a smartphone app. This is revolutionary for them: Everything is accessible for the small business owner now," Morris said.
"I have clients who are new business owners who see cloud computing as the only way to do business, and won't even consider any other methods."
Scott Moore is a perfect example. He started his pool service and maintenance company - AZ Desert Blue Service & Repair - last February, and sees the value in cloud computing already.
"One of the concerns I had about starting my own business was managing the books. I didn't think I would have the time to sit down with someone each month to figure out the financial results, and I knew I would be too busy to do it on my own. Before my accountant suggested I use cloud accounting to run my company, I assumed the cloud was only for big businesses," he said.
While some companies have been focused on migrating their legacy desktop software to the cloud, the game has changed again. Incumbents who find themselves still supporting ancient desktop software are seeing their move to the cloud hamstrung. It's also hamstringing customers who aren't able to benefit from the anywhere, anytime availability working in the cloud presents.
"As a small business owner, having the ability to work from anywhere means I can do administration in the morning while I eat my breakfast. It means I can work on the money side of my business from home, stay in the loop and work directly with my financial advisor, using one set of data," Moore said.
Now all technology vendors must accelerate their move to the cloud platforms of scale to gain access to the innovation that is being commoditized in these platforms. For companies like ours, which were born in the cloud, we can plug-and-play advanced new data technologies like AI, machine learning, analytics and automation into our cloud-only product, fueling a new wave of innovation for small business.
The case for using the cloud is compelling. For technology companies and enterprise, It provides the lowest cost to serve which is important when you're building a high margin business. It provides the fastest way to deploy updates, and near infinite scale.
For small business owners, working in the cloud gives them access to the most up-to-date versions, world-class security solutions, and enables them to connect all their services and workflows so that data flows freely between the various solutions they use every single day. Having all your data in one place also makes it easier to work from anywhere.
"As a small business advisor, I do see a trend toward greater usage of the cloud in daily business activities. This is mostly because of convenience. It is far more efficient to email a link to a client and receive a digital signature in return than it is to mail or fax a contract and wait for a hard copy to come back. Small business owners are busier than ever, and don't have enough time to wait for things anymore," Morris said.