11 Sep 2012
New SME research from MYOB has revealed small and medium businesses using the cloud are much more likely to experience positive financial and operational results. They are also more likely to expect such results in future.
One key finding was that those using cloud technologies for business were 53% more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year, indicating the rewards are waiting for those who are ready to embrace cloud computing.
MYOB, which offers the MYOB Live suite of cloud solutions, commissioned independent market research firm Colmar Brunton to conduct a nationally representative survey of 1,000+ SMEs. Only 14% said they used the cloud for business. 79% said they did not use it and 8% did not know.
Respondents’ gap in understanding of the cloud computing concept brings into question whether their sector’s information needs are aligned with the technology industry’s educational desires.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed says, “Despite the technology industry’s best efforts to teach others about the concept of cloud computing, our research shows a disconnect between SME cloud usage and their understanding of it. I question whether we need to rethink our educational direction when encouraging their move to the cloud.
“Four in five say they don’t use the cloud for business. This is surprising given the prolific use of internet banking and email, to give straightforward examples. Many more business operators leverage cloud technology than give themselves credit for, they just don’t realise.”
“The key to encouraging mass adoption of newer and more advanced cloud products and services is to advocate the productivity and financial benefits to a much greater extent than the technology behind it. Put simply, 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.
“It is really encouraging to see our research uncover the significant business performance results of those using cloud technologies in business. The mobility, flexibility and scalability benefits are life-changing for some people.
“Technology innovators and early adopters already get it; but cloud solutions are now ready for the mass market. Our clients and partners, many of whom already use cloud solutions, often tell me their main concern is how a technology will help them be more competitive and help make business life easier. I liken it to smartphones. Do most people care about how they work, or do they care about the business benefits a smartphone brings?”
Financial benefits of cloud usage
Mr Reed says, “The advantages of using cloud computing for business came through loud and clear in MYOB’s research. We found those doing so were 53% more likely to see a revenue rise last year. 26% of respondents who said they were using the cloud saw a revenue rise, compared to 17% of those who said they were not using it.”
There were numerous financial and operational result wins for cloud users. They were also more likely to:
Key drawcards of the cloud
The most popular reason for respondents using cloud computing was the ability to access data from whatever location they wanted (42%) followed by being able to have their team members work remotely (28%). 26% said a major reason for their cloud usage was to reduce the number/range of IT issues they have to deal with personally, while 23% also said they used it because their data was better protected and safer online on external servers.
Mr Reed asserts, “Cloud usage can provide a serious competitive advantage. Increasingly, businesses have teams on the road, in the office and working at home. The power of the cloud provides the freedom to work anywhere at any time, to be with your customers, partners and suppliers while still enjoying a connection to the office.”
“Plus, the secure gateway offered by trustworthy cloud providers means you can authorise others to access your business data as you access it. This eliminates the need to transmit data in physical forms to, say, your accountant or book keeper via CD, USB, email and other less secure means.”
Key barriers to cloud usage
SMEs not using cloud computing for business were asked why not, uncovering these top five mental hurdles:
Mr Reed said, “Next generation cloud technology - cloud-enabled software - can make it easier for SMEs to embrace the cloud. It not only enables you to access your business data online, you can access the same file offline because the cloud and local files are synced. You get the benefits of cloud with that of a desktop application - the best of both worlds. And with a product like AccountRight Live, where we’re cloud-enabling our flagship accounting software, clients don’t need to learn a new system. They work with a solution they know to leverage the benefits of the cloud.”
Potential cost benefits to customers
To find out whether potential cloud-related business cost savings could flow to consumers, MYOB asked, “If you could reduce your business administration costs in any way, how likely would you be to pass on the savings to customers?” – One third (33%) said they were quite likely (27%) or very likely (6%) to pass on savings.
Businesses most likely to use cloud
Across the survey’s many cross-breaks, business operators most likely to say they used cloud computing included:
Cloud computing usage across the states
On average, 80% of small and medium operators across the mainland states reported not using cloud for business. New South Wales had the highest proportion of users (15%) while Western Australia had the lowest (9%).
In terms of the top drivers nationally, the ability to work on data from any location appealed to Victorians the most. Enabling staff to work remotely was most appealing in New South Wales. With the top barriers, New South Wales had the highest proportion of respondents who said they did not know enough about the issues to make the right decision and they were also the most concerned about the safety in storing data in servers overseas.
Full results across the state for cloud computing usage were:
|Cloud computing – yes||15%||14%||13%||11%||9%|
|Cloud computing – no||76%||78%||80%||81%||85%|
|Cloud computing – don’t know||9%||8%||7%||9%||5%|
Note: TAS, NT, ACT were excluded in this table due to small sample size but were included in national results.
The MYOB Business Monitor cloud special report is available by request.
MYOB Public Relations & Corporate Affairs Manager
02 9089 9068 / M: 0407 450 860 / email@example.com
Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia’s largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for over 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand, and provides support via many client service channels including a network of over 20,000 accounting firms, bookkeepers and other consultants. MYOB’s solutions simplify accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more, for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than AU$30 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit myob.com.au.
Established in 2004, the MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of small and medium business owners and managers, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. The most recent study ran in May/June 2012, surveying 1,004 operators from sole traders to mid-sized companies representing the major industry sectors. The Monitor researches business performance such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline work, and mindset. Note: the weighting of MYOB client and non-client respondents is reflective of overall market proportions.