In the late 18th, early 19th Century, Britain was at the forefront of emerging technologies. The Industrial Revolution was driving the country to lead the world with new innovations with the first ‘technology entrepreneurs’ showing the way forward. Fast-forward to the present day and it’s a different story.
Although there are some rare exceptions, we are as a country trailing other areas of the world in the latest technology revolution, cloud computing. The likes of the Nordics, the Far East and Eastern Europe are forging ahead and as a result UK small businesses, especially those outside of major cities, are left at a distinct disadvantage. The Government needs to look at this situation, take inspiration from the Industrial Revolution entrepreneurs and invest in technology and the Internet to give British business the best opportunity to succeed.
There are great cloud computing companies in the UK, but for businesses to really take advantage of these services, we need high speed internet access – and not just in the major cities.
Businesses of any size now have access to the systems that have up until now only been available to the largest companies on the planet. This comes without smaller businesses having to break the bank in technology investment as we live in a world where we now have the ability to scale memory, processing and storage at the touch of a button, and only paying for the amount we actually use.
What this means is that small businesses are actually able to compete in markets that were dominated by the technology giants. As a result, there is opportunity for small businesses that harness this technology then have a huge advantage over those that cannot.
Like water or electricity, cloud computing should now be considered a key utility and therefore should be available to all. It allows businesses to succeed as it enables them to exactly align technology expenditure with business requirements. It can be argued that this technology has the potential to do for today’s business what the Industrial Revolution did for mass production.
Without adequate internet connectivity, it is like having the power stations, but no national grid to distribute electricity.
In order to be successful, businesses throughout the UK need to serve customers faster and better than ever before and empower their employees with the best technology that allows them to do this. Without easy access to software that helps companies with HR, logistics, finance and a whole range of other crucial services, they cannot compete on any scale.
The infrastructure that allows this utility to run tends at present, to be restricted to large cities, which when you are rolling out such investment makes sense. However, now is the time for the Government to make a real commitment to UK small businesses and roll out this infrastructure throughout the country. The need for high-speed Internet access across the entire country that allows organisations of all sizes to connect to cloud computing services is paramount. Without it those outside of major conurbations will struggle to keep up, and Britain will fall further behind in the cloud computing revolution.
This animation helps to explain this change in computer and technology thinking since the dawn of time and how we are at an exciting dawn: the era of utility computing.
Peter Groucutt is the MD of Databarracks.
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