“The Exact 2015 SME Cloud Barometer” which interviewed 3,000 SMEs in the UK, US and Europe, found that those businesses which were “heavy users” of cloud software, with three or more different products in place, achieved far higher revenue growth and more than double the profit of those that used fewer cloud systems.
The study found the UK has the second highest number of “heavy” cloud software users at 27 per cent, just marginally behind the USA with 29 per cent.
This compares to a quarter of SMEs in the Netherlands, 24 per cent in Belgium and France, and just 10 per cent in Germany. Overall, just under half of UK SMEs, 47 per cent, are now using at least one cloud business software tool.
Those businesses which have embraced the cloud and are using multiple software products as part of business processes showed on average 26 per cent growth in revenue in 2015, compared to 14 per cent among those using one or two online solutions and 10 per cent among those that don’t use any cloud solutions at all.
Despite the UK’s high take-up of cloud, the study found that businesses were often reluctant adopters of new technology. It found that the most popular reason for implementing new software solution was “when we need to replace outdated versions” – much higher than any other country.
IT cost savings were the main reason for UK SMEs to switch to the cloud unlike everywhere else where better security was the main reason for switching away from on-premise software solutions or traditional pen-and-paper style processes.
In all cases, easy access to information was cited as the third biggest benefit for moving business and finance processes online.
UK SMEs said getting customers to pay on time was another major factor in moving to the cloud followed by cashflow management. Accounting software is the most popular business tool.
“Few business leaders would argue with the fact that having the right software tools in place can be vital to success,” said Erik van der Meijden, chief executive of Exact. “In fact, 63 per cent of the SMEs who took part said they felt that technology is going to have a strong impact on the competitive landscape in their market over the next three years.”
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