SaaS and the SMB: How small-to-medium sized businesses can use digitalization to their competitive advantage

What makes Software as a Service (SaaS) enticing for small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is its flexibility, scalability and accessibility. When SMBs can take advantage of cloud-based solutions, they can scale up and down to meet their needs, invest in product development and optimization instead of IT infrastructure and give their engineers and designers with an internet connection access from anywhere

This blog is based on the SaaS and SMB webinar. Click here to watch the full on-demand webinar.

Digital transformation: Turn complexity into your competitive advantage

The world is growing more complex as products are becoming smarter and more connected with increasing numbers of electronics components. On top of that, consumer demands for customization and personalization are growing.

But it’s not just the product you’re building today that’s increasing in complexity, it’s putting things together that are systems, systems of systems, and even systems of systems of systems! Whether you’re a small company or a large enterprise, it’s expected that your development is more responsive to what the customer needs.

As the rate of change at which the complexity is going up and innovation is increasing on an almost daily basis we’re finding shorter innovation cycles on a backdrop of market volatility that requires agility.

The real challenges for SMBs

SMBs often lack the many resources, including people, capital or facilities, that larger enterprises have. Therefore, flexibility in development capabilities, deployment and computational power are key, and they must extend all the way across the entire value chain. When building a complex product in a complex environment, the IT infrastructure in place has to accommodate quick changes, which is particularly hard on smaller businesses. The SMB infrastructure may be limited, which is where digitalization helps businesses thrive. It can connect design, engineering and IT information from various sources so users can find it, use it and create feedback where it’s important. The business workflow, that digitally links and traces these kinds of information, tasks and processes within a product lifecycle, are called digital thread.

Digitalization also helps smaller and medium-sized companies verify and validate their products faster in order to speed up time to market. A comprehensive digital twin helps everyone from manufacturers to product developers by mirroring the real-world physical products and physical systems so that they can perform analysis and simulate them more effectively. This leaves your workforce more room for innovation. Imagine freeing up your people to innovate and design more effectively and create the optimal solutions that keeps your customers happy and your company with a greater competitive edge in your marketplace.

This vision was turned into reality by some of our customers. They are leveraging the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio to gain a competitive advantage in the market:

Unlimited Tomorrow. Interested in robotics at an early age, the entrepreneur who started this company was just a teenager and has built a business that designs and produces prothesis for 90 percent less cost.

Unlimited Tomorrow: A small business using digitalization for customization

BioNTech. With the latest automation and digitalization technology from Siemens, BioNTech was one of the first companies together with Pfizer to bring a new mRNA vaccine to market. Learn more.

These days, a lot of companies, not only due to the pandemic, are working with distributed teams, whether it’s within your company or with people and organizations that maybe distributed globally in different time zones with different languages. How can we work together and share information so all users have a single source of truth accessible from any device and ensure security and IP protection?

SMBs are also challenged with scaling their resources up and down, for instance hiring talent or upgrading technology for a short-term project. Because you may only need these resources for a limited period of time, you don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy things that are going to sit on the shelf and waste your capital resources or have talent on-hand when you don’t need them.

To help customers of all sizes take the next leap forward in their productivity and gain additional competitive advantage, Siemens introduced Xcelerator as a Service (XaaS). By taking solutions to the cloud, the barrier of entry is lower while not increasing IT costs.

Why choose Xcelerator as a Service?

Xcelerator as a Service (XaaS) from Siemens provides unprecedented access to the cloud and is scalable and flexible to meet the specific business needs of small-and-medium-sized businesses. This solution doesn’t just help businesses thrive, but is even helping them revolutionize their respective industries.

XaaS has several guiding principles that can help businesses of all sizes achieve success. They include access, to ensure our products and capabilities are available to more users and customers when they need it, and scalability, so businesses can scale up and down quickly and easily to meet the needs of the moment.

Another important aspect to XaaS is the commitment to community, collaboration and personalization. Everyone has a different ecosystem in which they operate and different ways they use their digital tools so XaaS is built to deliver domain-themed and broad solutions and highly tailored solutions.

How SaaS can help your business thrive

SaaS should be easy, open and able to integrate with your software and solutions. The business of an as-a-Service delivery should also provide SMBs with the ability to get to market faster by enabling collaboration and facilitating easy access to domain insights earlier in the process, better manage the natural volatility in your business and supply chains, provide real-time data connectivity and closed loop feedback and reduce locked IT capital.

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is both a licensing and a delivery model.  When a company needs a license for software, they buy it and it’s delivered via cloud or the network and purchased on a subscription basis. Applications are centrally hosted and functionality is delivered online, which means minimal investment in infrastructure.

The provider of the SaaS application provides updates and backups as well as security. While the perception is that this level of access may not be secure, it’s quite false. SaaS providers are considered to have some of the best security in the world of IT because of their reliance on operation and infrastructure. The IT infrastructure at a small business may consist of a single person or two from a local talent pool whereas SaaS application providers have a greater investment in creating security.

Thus, the cloud is probably the most secure place to go.

Also, regarding infrastructure, SaaS means that companies don’t have to spend capital on buying servers and hardware or hiring administrators and operators. The secure collaboration of a cloud-based solution ensures a single source of truth. As technology moves quickly nowadays, it’s imperative that companies don’t get stuck in old technology and become forced to rebuild new infrastructure every few years. SaaS provides an economical way to accomplish this. It’s a good approach for companies of all sizes — but especially SMBs and startups — because it provides access to the technology and the flexibility to change as needed.

Watch the SaaS and the SMB webinar featuring CIMdata analyst Ken Annan and Siemens’ Tosh Tambe

Visit Xcelerator as a Service.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/xcelerator/2022/04/05/saas-and-the-smb-how-small-to-medium-sized-businesses-can-use-digitalization-to-their-competitive-advantage/