Cloud technology cuts costs and solves problems for SMEs. So why aren’t they using it? » SMEInsider

Cloud technology cuts costs and solves problems for SMEs. So why aren’t they using it?

The combination of tight budgets and willingness to be innovative means that smaller businesses have a lot to gain from cloud-based technologies, but a lack of awareness means that big firms are reaping most of the benefits.

“There’s been some research on this actually, and of all the business sizes the small business community is the least likely to move to the cloud, and the biggest reason they cited was lack of awareness,” says Gary Turner, UK MD of cloud accounting providers Xero.

“It’s an irony, because it’s the small teams of highly motivated entrepreneurs who have a major advantage now against the big, incumbent businesses,” agrees Wired editor David Rowan.  

Making the comments as part of a video debate hosted by Xero, Rowan added: “It’s not so much fear as a lack of awareness in many businesses of the speed at which consumer behaviour is changing, business models are evolving… And if you’re busy running a business, trying to make pay cheques, you don’t have time to keep informed.”

Cloud technologies can range from online file storage and sharing through to automated invoicing and payments. Many product suites, such Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Suite, are now offered on a cloud-based subscription model, meaning that users can sign in and use them on multiple devices without having to shell out a small fortune upfront.

These kinds of features not only allow small businesses to be more agile and “always-on”, they also keep overheads low, cutting down the need for physical space and reducing the pressure on company cashflows that is created by fewer, bigger payments.

While switching to a new system can be arduous, and it’s important to choose your technology carefully, the benefits typically outweigh the stress.

“We’re, relatively speaking, quite an old platform, so for us, changing anything is quite painful,” says Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet. “But let me tell you: every single adoption of new technology we’ve made has been worth it in the long run.”