Small and medium businesses (SMEs) play a significant role in the development and growth of the economy. In order to be productive, and collaborate and communicate effectively across different regions, SMEs need to invest in IT and employ cloud applications.
Cloud computing for small businesses offers your employees and clients the flexibility to access information from anywhere. Compliance and upgrading applications is also simpler.
SMEs enjoy lower total costs of ownership for IT operations, maintenance, and support because these functions are out-sourced to the experts that continue to build and maintain the cloud applications.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the economic backbone of many a national economy. In Singapore, SMEs form close to 99% of the total number of enterprises and contribute to nearly half (47%) of the country’s GDP according to 2016 data from Statistics Singapore.
Vital to the national economy, small businesses are the powerhouse of employment, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Although SMEs are growth drivers of any economy, these enterprises are constantly strapped for resources – financial, infrastructural or manpower.
In order to drive growth and be ready for future success, SMEs need to ensure they employ the right tools in order to be productive, and collaborate and communicate effectively across different regions.
This means investing in IT and employing cloud applications. However, for many SMEs, this is not the case. The 2015 Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) released a report on SMEs that stated that the average expenditure on IT for a local SME was only around 2.5% of its budget.
Cloud Computing for Small Businesses: Advantages for SMEs
Here are three reasons why SMEs need to invest in IT and leverage cloud applications:
Access to information, anywhere, anytime
As we become more dependent on our smartphone for instant access to information – whether it is personal, public or professional information, businesses, too, benefit from placing their data in the cloud and enabling their workforce to access information on demand.
Locally-installed software makes it hard to balance flexibility for the end user – the employee. Developing and maintaining mobile apps for locally-hosted software is cost-prohibitive. Hosted applications, on the other hand, have mobile apps and enable access of information anywhere, anytime. For instance, sales staff can access customer information at any time through a hosted solution.
Many businesses use applications such as Microsoft OneDrive for business, Google Drive and Dropbox to store information with data being easily accessed and shared inside and outside the organisation.
Google for business and Microsoft Office 365 are used by businesses across the world.
Applications such as Xero and QuickBooks make it easy for companies to automate their finances. Further, these applications allow multiple user access, and have a user-friendly mobile interface. They are also cost-efficient and fit lean budgets.
Applications that automate key HR functions such as leave application, viewing payslips on their mobile phone and recording time clocked, allow employees to effortlessly complete administrative tasks.
Typical cloud solutions include Google Analytics for website performance measurement, Adobe Creative Cloud for content creation and email marketing applications such as Mailchimp.
Cloud based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications can further improve customer service by integrating with other applications such as accounting and email marketing.
Business chat applications such as Slack can drastically cut down email communication.
Applications such as Trello, Flow and Dapulse help teams keep track of project milestones and ensure tasks are properly assigned and completed. These tools are even free unless the business needs advanced features.
The Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of today must invest in cloud solutions if the business is to thrive. Leveraging smart and lean cloud solutions that limit costs and multiply productivity can be seen as a road to business success for SMEs.
About the Author
KC Kwa | Founder & Chief Executive Officer | Justlogin Pte Ltd