Australia’s largest accounting software provider, MYOB, recently conducted a study of over 1,000 SMEs which found that 16 percent use cloud computing in business, up by two percentage points from July of last year. The study also revealed that only 38 percent of SMEs have a business website, no change from last year.
SMEs who do use cloud computing were 106 percent more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year, a significant increase from 53 percent in July 2012; and those with a business website were 60 percent more likely to see a revenue rise, also up from 53 percent.
Business operators in the cloud are also more likely to expect a revenue rise in the next 12 months (37 percent versus 28 percent), and are more positive about the domestic economy improving during this time as well (33 percent versus 23 percent). SMEs with a business website are also more likely to expect a revenue rise in the next 12 months (35 percent versus 27 percent).
“It’s obvious that as time goes on Australian business operators using cloud computing are increasingly likely to achieve positive financial results. That said, I’m surprised fewer than one in every six say they use cloud in business. This ubiquitous technology has helped so many smaller businesses become better connected, more productive and more competitive,” said MYOB CEO, Tim Reed.
“Our research findings provide a clear cut case for embracing online technologies in business. The latest study reveals SMEs using cloud were twice as likely to see a revenue rise in the past year than those who aren’t. It’s similar for those with a business website, who were almost two thirds more likely to see a rise than their peers,” he added.
Why businesses are using cloud computing
The most popular reason for adopting cloud technology was the ability to access data from any location (52 percent). Over one third pointed to being able to have their team members work remotely (36 percent), while 30 percent said they used it because their data was better protected and safer online on external servers.
When asked what business tasks SMEs used cloud computing for, the top five were: file sharing (50 percent), file back-up (49 percent), email (44 percent), file storage (42 percent), and online banking (41 percent).
Why some businesses haven’t adopted cloud computing yet
Those who didn’t use cloud computing were asked why they haven’t adopted the technology and the top reason was ‘I don’t know enough about it to make the right business decisions about it’ (35 percent).
Ranked second was ‘I am not very tech-savvy and don’t feel confident about even starting to look at it for my business’ (22 percent), followed by ‘It is of interest, but there are many more important other business priorities to take care of first’ (21 percent).
Other recent MYOB research found the top three reasons why SMEs hadn’t set up a website were ‘we prefer to advertise and market our business using other methods’ (68 percent), ‘it’s not a priority right now, we have all the work we can handle’ (66 percent) and ‘we don’t see any value in having a business website’ (60 percent).
The results indicate that a majority of SMEs are in need of further education on how to best implement online technology.
“Interestingly, more than half our respondents said they would vote for the political party that proposed ‘providing free government-funded training to all small businesses on how to use the internet to enhance and grow their business,” said Reed.
“It’s also clear the majority are unaware of the value in having even a simple website that contains their contact details. Many businesses have first-hand experience of the benefits of being found online, being able to attract and retain customers in this way. Our research proves it can have a tremendously positive financial effect.”
Those using cloud computing are more likely to increase the following activities in the next year:
- Focus on customer retention and acquisition strategies: 52 percent versus 34 percent who don’t use cloud
- Prices and margins on products and services sold this year: 36 percent versus 22 percent
- The number or variety of products or services offered: 33 percent versus 24 percent
- Working with business advisers to enhance the business: 30 percent versus 15 percent
- Spending on marketing and advertising their business online: 29 percent versus 18 percent
- Pay their employees more: 28 percent versus 20 percent
- Boost staff numbers this year: 25 percent versus 11 percent
Those with business websites are also more likely to increase the following activities in the next year:
- Focus on customer retention and acquisition strategies: 49 percent versus 29 percent without a website
- The number or variety of products or services offered: 37 percent versus 20 percent
- Spending on marketing and advertising their business online: 36 percent versus 10 percent
- Their prices and margins on products and services sold this year: 28 percent versus 19 percent
- Pay their employees more: 28 percent versus 16 percent
- Working with business advisers to enhance the business: 22 percent versus 14 percent
- Boost staff numbers this year: 21 percent versus 8 percent