No way back

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27 May 2015 | 0

He argues that while the migration costs might be a stumbling block and there “is going to be some pain”, the advantage of cloud services is that once a company makes the move those migration costs will never be repeated. Nevertheless, Marchetti suggests that the only way to accelerate cloud adoption among smaller Irish companies is for providers to become more flexible in terms of their payment models or for the government to take a serious look at the issue and make funding available to SMEs.

“There doesn’t seem to be any focus from a government point of view,” he observes. “They’re very much left to themselves. Some local SMEs are still using Server 2003, they want to get off, but they can’t find the capital investment.” And it can be hard to justify that capital investment if there are limited prospects of generating a better return from it because so many local smaller firms deal with a known number of local customers and are unlikely to travel much further afield to expand their base.

“[SME owners] have an innate requirement as employers that they expect their employees to be onsite. There’s a reluctance to embrace anything other than that. If they can’t see their employees, they don’t know what they’re doing” – Guido Marchetti, MJ Flood

Sometimes, SMEs can also be held back because of their reliance on a local IT supplier to deliver their IT strategy. “I proposed cloud to one SME [owner] and he informed me that he had decided to purchase equipment from the local supplier instead because he had huge trust in the local supplier,” Marchetti reveals. He claims that some local suppliers that are hesitant about providing cloud services and struggling with how to change their business model might be guilty of acting in their own best interests rather than those of their customers.

David Ellis, head of technology and services at Arrow ECS EMEA, isn’t convinced that Irish SMEs are “any different from those in other European regions”. He says that “if you think about what they want to achieve from technology, they’re not interested in bits and bytes or feeds and speeds, so it’s important to position the benefits this technology can give them. The business owner wants to understand the benefits from a business perspective”.

He argues suppliers need to concentrate on highlighting areas such as flexibility in terms of payment and to attract SMEs with the argument that they pay for what they use. They should also highlight that cloud gives SMEs much better business resilience and continuity while reducing the amount of time and effort staff have to spend on IT. “They need to put it in terms that are important for the SME,” Ellis argues. “As long as providers are talking in a language that SMEs understand, I think there’s a good opportunity.”

Connection problems
Jonathan Long, head of operations at Pure Telecom, thinks the lack of cloud adoption outside the capital is affected far more by connectivity issues than most SMEs seem prepared to accept. “Having access to faster bandwidth and technologies that come with it is great for business productivity and for driving growth. When it comes to SMEs and cloud outside the capital, the correct type of connectivity required for cloud-based interactions is simply not available.”

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