A new NBN Co commissioned report has identified the Australian small business market as a significant opportunity for Cloud service providers as the NBN rollout gathers pace.
The SME cloud-based services: overseas successes & Australian opportunities report developed by Ovum and commissioned by NBN Co, found less than half of Aussie small businesses were currently taking advantage of cloud services.
It found that the majority of those using the cloud are only running basic applications such as email, Web hosting and storage instead of embracing new innovations and Cloud-based business models such as advanced applications and tools for online marketing, collaboration, data security.
The report also identified the Australian small business market as a significant opportunity for internet service providers (ISPs) to offer new end to end cloud products and packages as the NBN rollout gathers momentum.
There is a large SME market for Cloud services with around 800,000 SMEs in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
SME take-up of Cloud services is still slow compared to consumers, with 44 per cent of SMEs actively using Cloud services, though many of these still used fairly simple services such as email and online storage, according to Australian Communications and Media Authority report into Cloud computing.
The demand for Cloud services has been growing for several years with Frost & Sullivan estimating the total value of the country’s Cloud computing market in 2013 at $1.23 billion, projected to grow $4.55 billion by 2018.
Ovum research director, David Kennedy, said access to the latest technologies powered by fast and reliable broadband was vital in helping Australian businesses remain competitive in the global digital economy.
“However, due to the resources and bandwidth required, many advanced business tools including cloud services have not previously been accessible by small businesses," he said.
“The NBN rollout will allow businesses of all sizes to discover a host of new products and tools, no matter where they are located and without the need for in-house specialist skills.
He said there were already examples of small business owners connected to the NBN who are using cloud computing services and other technologies in innovative ways to expand their markets, significantly lower their operating costs and improve their productivity.
“We believe the next year will see a range of new competitive packages and products being offered to small business owners to help them better leverage the benefits of fast broadband and cloud applications.”