Does new study show cloud computing is viable for SMEs?

Advantage of cloud for smaller businesses “loud and clear”, according to Australia-based research

A survey by Australian cloud software provider MYOB has shown that many SMEs are not taking advantage of the cloud – but those that do experience tangible benefits.

The research, conducted by market researchers Colmar Brunton and commissioned by MYOB, polled over 1000 SMEs and found some intriguing trends:

  • Accessing data from any location proved the biggest draw for SMEs migrating (42%)
  • Working remotely (28%); reducing IT usage issues (26%) and data protection (23%) also popular
  • But 27% of respondents said they didn’t know enough about the cloud to make a decision

Nearly four-fifths of the companies surveyed (79%) said they didn’t use the cloud for business. 14% said they did, while 8% weren’t sure.

The highlights from the research included various quick wins for enterprises. For example, 44% of SMEs in the cloud expected their revenue to rise next year, compared to 22% of those not in the cloud.

Those utilising cloud services were likelier to have more work in a three-month pipeline (55%) than companies who haven’t migrated (25%), and it’s a similar story in terms of getting more employees in – 35% of companies in the cloud expected to upscale compared to 15% not in the cloud.

But the question is: do smaller businesses think cloud computing can only be viable for big enterprises? Possibly, according to MYOB CEO Tim Reed.

“Despite the technology industry’s best efforts to teach others about the concept of cloud computing, our research shows a disconnect between SME cloud usage and their understanding of it,” according to Reed.

“I question whether we need to rethink our educational direction when encouraging their move to the cloud,” he continued.

How does this align with other studies?

Back in July a US-based study – from research carried out by Microsoft – revealed that 65% of American SMEs saw cloud computing as “essential” to their organisation, with security again a vital hurdle to overcome.

Over half of the SMEs surveyed (51%) insist on proof of compliance from cloud providers, whilst 43% need to see a completed self-assessment checklist before moving over.

Elsewhere, more Microsoft research in May found that 64% of Indian SMEs polled experienced higher levels of security as a result of cloud migration; 61% were able to hire more sales staff; and 52% saw the cloud as an enabler for market exploration with their business.

Is this more research to suggest SMEs can thrive in the cloud? Or should the apparent reticence of Asia-Pacific based enterprises be a warning shot?




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