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Cloud Computing and SMEs

Most cloud based applications created today are geared toward SME market. According to European Commission, cloud based technology could help 80% of organisations reduce costs by 10-20%. This article provided courtesy of Towergate offers insights into the uses and benefits of cloud computing, as well as tips for a successful implementation.

Did you know what is cloud?
– 51% of people believe stormy weather has an effect on cloud computing.
– 29% of people think the Cloud has something to do with weather.
– 95% of people used the Cloud but don’t know it.

Some famous cloud apps that people didn’t know were part of the ‘Cloud’ including Dropbox, iCloud and Netflix.

UK SMEs use Cloud for:
– 55.4% Hosting services
– 41.5% Backup services
– 41.4% Hosted emails
– 40.9% Data storage
– 22.9% Booking systemss

Why UK SMEs adopted the Cloud:
45.4% Cost Reduction
– No need for expensive, high powered computers.
– Only pay for what you use as no need for up front payments.
44.9% Mobility and convenience in accessing applications
38.9% Flexibility and scalability of IT resources
– Virtually unlimited storage capabilities.
32.9% Increased computing capacity.
31.7% Increased IT efficiency and agility.
29.9% It’s greener.

In fact, for SMEs, the cut in carbon emissions is likely to be 90% as a result of using Cloud.

Cloud-based services eliminate the need for software dics, physical servers, installing updates and newer versions, In-house IT staff and large upfront investments.

Organizations gain competitive advantage by using the Cloud. These companies:
– Report almost 2x revenue growth of competitors.
– 170% more likely to use cloud analytics to inform business decisions.
– Earn 2.5x more profit than peers.
– 136% more likely to reinvent customer relationships with cloud tech.

In fact, 42% of UK organizations said at least 1/5 of their total IT spend will focus on cloud services due to its success.

The Global Perspective
In India
– There are 35 mln SMEs
– Saas frew +76% between 2007-2011
– Cloud adoption has reduced IT costs by 1/3rd
– Amongst business and IT executives, 66% see cloud as an innovation driver and 50% see cloud as an efficiency tool.
– Currently use cloud service and 20% plan to adopt cloud within 18 months.

In Ghana, meet Rancard, a company whose…
– Cloud-based platform delivers content to 250m subscribers across Sub-Saharan African.
– Cloud-based Rendevous service helped them increase subscriptions for Glo Nigeria from 40k to 540k in a single year.

How you could use the Cloud:
– Benefits such as instant payment.
– Can be emailed receipts or invoices.
– Quicker and more efficient service.

Due to this, 37% increased customer satisfaction rate from using mobile cloud services.

For some SMEs, this colud be as easy as downloading an app from app store. For bigger SMEs dealing with ‘cloud providers’ rather than simple app’s, there are a number of steps that need to be taken before implementing the cloud into your day to day business strategy. This includes:
– Consider a ‘try before you buy’ model before committing to it.
– Checking security measures taken by the cloud provider.
– Consider a ‘back out plan’.
– Establish a service-level agreement to guarantee service delivery.

On average, large scale cloud computing can take between 9-15 months to implement. But it is speeding up with some providers claiming they can implement cloud services in as little as 6 months.

Cloud ‘apps’ however can be downloaded and used instantly for those businesses on the move or with less infrastructure to worry about.

Cloud ‘apps’ essential for any SME:
Document storage: box
Time tracking: toggl
Business reports: QuickBooks
Finances: outright
Email Campaigns: pure360
Managing your website: Go Daddy

Jack Newton, Wired

As the cloud continues to grow as a hotbed for innovation, it’s the solo and small businesses, with their rapid technology adoption, that will benefits the most. While large business may once have held the advantage in the enterprise software world, in the cloud it’s another story.

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