The Cloud has the potential to drive positive financial and operational results for those SMBs that are willing to make the commitment.
The observation comes the way of a survey, titled MYOB Business Monitor Cloud special report, commissioned by business software vendor, MYOB.
Over 1000 SMB were surveyed for the report, with 14 per cent saying they used the Cloud for business.
The remaining 79 per cent said they did not use it and eight per cent did not know.
MYOB CEO, Tim Reed, admits that the research indicates a gap between SMB Cloud usage and their understanding of it.
“Despite the technology industry’s best efforts to teach others about the concept of cloud computing, I question whether we need to rethink our educational direction when encouraging their move to the Cloud,” he said.
The report highlights that four in five people say they do not use the Cloud for business, which Reed finds “surprising” considering the widespread adoptiong services such as Internet banking and email.
“Many more business operators leverage Cloud technology than give themselves credit for,” he said.
Despite the conservative adoption of the Cloud by SMB, the report discovered that those using Cloud technologies for business were 53 per cent more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year.
For Reed, this shows that those who are ready to embrace Cloud computing may be able to reap the rewards that are waiting for them.
“It is really encouraging to see our research uncover the significant business performance results of those using Cloud technologies in business,” he said.
“The mobility, flexibility and scalability benefits are life-changing for some people.”
Some of the financial and operational result wins for Cloud users that were identified in the report included having more sales/work than usual in their three-month pipeline, 55 per cent versus 25 per cent of those not using the Cloud, and intend to grow their number/range of products or services in the next year, 48 per cent versus 24 per cent.
SMB Cloud users also expect their revenue to rise in the next year (44 per cent versus 26 per cent), plan to increase their prices and margins on products/services sold this year (37 per cent versus 25 per cent) and intend to increase staff numbers this year (35 per cent versus 15 per cent).
Reed says that the Cloud is already changing business for the better.
“It has been doing so for years and is now providing access to even more powerful business tools that improve the way we work,” he said.
However, despite all the perceived benefits of the Cloud, SMBs not using Cloud computing for business admitted to seeing several key barriers to adoption.
The top reasons included said they did not know enough about the issues to make the right decision (27 per cent) and were unsure of the safety in storing their data in servers overseas (26 per cent).
22 per cent admitted to the Cloud being of interest, but they have more important other business priorities to take care of first, while 21 per cent were concerned about their data being secure on servers other than their own.
Reed admits that the main concern among MYOB’s clients and partners, many of whom already use Cloud solutions, is how the technology will help them be more competitive.
“I liken it to smartphones,” he said.
“Do most people care about how they work, or do they care about the business benefits a smartphone brings?””
Rounding out the concerns was 17 per cent of respondents saying that they were not “tech-savvy” enough to even start looking at the solution.
“Technology innovators and early adopters already get it, but cloud solutions are now ready for the mass market,” Reed said.