SMEs and the cloud: are they bothered?
9 April 2015 | 0
So this week, thanks to TechCentral, I learned that a majority of small firms outside Dublin have made little effort to move to the cloud. This is not a cause for celebration according to cloud telecoms provider Magnet which argues that failure to embrace cloud technology or to avail of Government supports to go online is putting small firms outside the Capital at a competitive disadvantage.
A survey conducted for Magnet by Amarach Research found that 45% of small firms in Dublin had implemented a cloud solution, much higher than the overall figure of less than a fifth for the country as a whole. The research found that of those that were using cloud services, e-mail was the most popular application (68%), followed by collaboration (51%), existing business applications (40%), CRM (30%) and new business applications (29%). The biggest benefit for them from implementing cloud was that it enabled remote access.
Closer examination of the results reveals that the reasons many small firms outside Dublin have not moved to the cloud are not quite as obvious as you might imagine. For example, concerns about the quality of broadband available in certain regions not being up to the task were very low, ranging from 2% in the mid-East to 12% in the mid-West. Security concerns were also well down the list, as was the issue of cost. Intriguingly, the biggest reason why so many small firms in the regions had declined to move to the cloud was that they just did not think it was for them.
In all the regions apart from the south-West (53%) and Dublin (32%), more than 60% said moving to the cloud “doesn’t suit our company”. That looks like a pretty damning verdict on the job cloud-based providers have done to date in marketing their solutions to small firms in Ireland. Or, possibly, it could be that their solutions really aren’t that suitable for small firms outside Dublin.
Either they need to improve their marketing and do a better job of convincing small companies that it really is worthwhile moving to the cloud. Or they need to improve their cloud solutions so that they are more attractive to small firms. Or both.
The fact that other issues such as cost and security are so low down in the list of priorities demonstrates just how much work cloud providers have to do to market their wares to Irish SMEs. You only start worrying about cost and security when you become interested in using something. If SMEs are barely thinking about those issues, it suggests they are hardly thinking about the cloud either.