More than three quarters (76 per cent) of small businesses and entrepreneurs are looking to cloud solutions to increase their business efficiency according to research of nearly 200 businesses and entrepreneurs by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy, investment management and tax group.
‘Businesses, particularly smaller and scale-up ones, are noticing the vast potential that working in, and using, the cloud can offer them,’ says Maria Fandrakis, head of business outsourcing services at Smith & Williamson.
The cloud and software-as-a-service solutions are revolutionising the way businesses operate, for everything from enhancing individual accounting functions to full IT infrastructure. Costly IT servers, hardware and software solutions are becoming a thing of the past. Cloud computing allows individuals to store and process data in a privately owned server.
‘Businesses are waking up to the efficiencies that computing has to offer; from agile working to automation, real time information access to collaborative ways of working. We’re barely touching the surface of what cloud computing can offer and yet the measurable impact it is having on business cost and profit margins already are extraordinary.’
‘SMEs and scale-ups are at the forefront of this. Perhaps by their nature the individuals involved are more likely to experiment with new products and ideas. Potentially, because they tend to be smaller organisations, entrepreneurs find it easier to implement new structures and ways of working in one swoop.’
Coming in from the cold
Breaches to cloud security have become prominent in recent years with the press highlighting numerous examples of celebrities who have found their individual cloud repositories breached. However, there is more to cloud solutions than just the iCloud and as the systems behind cloud have developed so has the security. The development of cyber security as a sector has had vast benefits to the security of solutions with banking and accounting companies regularly adopting this technology.
‘We’re seeing that, as time progresses and the security elements of cloud solutions are brought up to the requisite standard, businesses are very enthusiastically adopting solutions. Whether it is IT infrastructure, accounting, collaborative working or more, Britain’s scale-up businesses are seeing the developmental leap forward and moving with it,’ adds Maria.
Obstacles to change
Establishing cloud solutions in a fully developed business can cause some temporary problems during the transitional period. However, almost every package is adaptable and can be tailored to the individual or business concerned.
‘We’re finding that the biggest obstacle to change is often the businesses themselves. Many businesses feel they are functioning successfully so are initially resistant to transitioning to other formats or ways of working. Often choosing an appropriate provider can be confusing with so many options available,’ says Maria.
‘However, we would encourage those businesses to consider the longer-term benefits that cloud has to offer rather than the negatives associated with transitioning. Cloud solutions are the future for all businesses and the successful ones will be the early adopters.’