How AppDirect can direct you to the cloud

European businesses are eager to adopt cloud services, but barriers still remain. They need advice and help to get the solutions they need, and above all, they need an easy way to obtain these services. With the help of service providers across the continent, AppDirect may provide one of the best routes for SMBs to access the services they need.

The appetite for cloud services is growing all across Europe. In the United Kingdom, 24 percent of companies have already adopted cloud services, with the country ranked joint third by the Cloud Readiness Index, in terms of infrastructure, capabilities and desire for that type of service.

In Finland, more than half of all businesses (51 percent) use cloud services today. Not far behind is Italy, which sees 40 percent of its businesses using cloud services. Overall, one out of every five companies in the EU28 is now using these cloud-based applications.

There is a rapidly growing market opportunity, and European cloud service providers, particularly telecommunications companies, are best placed to take advantage of it. And yet, revenue for European telecom companies has been falling every year since 2009. With a crowded marketplace of over 150 operators across Europe, an already commoditised market is being hampered by the complexity of extreme competition. Because of this, European service providers are not moving fast enough to provide cloud services and applications to their customers.

The problem is, the risks and costs associated with growing a cloud service marketplace can be prohibitively large; cloud service providers have either already tried and failed, or delayed getting into the market altogether.

Which is why AppDirect provides such a useful alternative to service providers, offering a flexible, open standards-based cloud service platform. European providers such as Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, Elisa, and TeliaSonera have all used AppDirect to launch successful cloud service marketplaces within the last few years, with other telecom companies following suit. AppDirect gives a self-service marketplace that can easily integrate other services and solutions to bundle alongside core offerings, cutting down the time to market, and ensuring that all customer needs are met efficiently and through a single portal.

The growing sophistication of small businesses in Europe and around the world means that being able to offer inclusive, bundled services is more important than ever. European SMBs are some of the fastest adopters of cloud services in the world, and making their route to the cloud as easy as possible should always be the aim. Certainly, this is what we believe at GMS. We have integrated our cloud solution into AppDirect and are actively looking to join new marketplaces to bolster the offerings of service providers and provide differentiation as part of a value-added sale.

We believe that through AppDirect, and in partnership with Telecom companies, we can grow our business and better help small businesses take their crucial first steps into the cloud.