In 2015 the percentage of small businesses in the United States, Canada, the U.K., and Australia that ran their operations in the cloud was 37 percentage. Only a year later an Intuit study reveals that the number has grown significantly - to 64 percent. In addition, 68 percent of these same small businesses use mobile or web-based apps in their day-to-day operations. A few years ago in 2014, Intuit predicted that by 2020, 80 percent of small businesses will have embraced cloud computing. This is an amazing shift in the way small business is being done, and it’s occurring practically overnight.
Of course, what small business owners are concerned about now is what they’ve always been concerned about: controlling costs and increasing productivity. So why are they embracing cloud computing and apps?
Cloud computing fully utilizes hardware, and businesses can therefore do more with less of it. This means that companies have pay less money to buy, install, maintain, upgrade, and fix their on-site computers and servers. They also will have lower electric bills because they will not have to power all of the equipment they had to before cloud computing. For a small business like a family dentist, eliminating the headache of any unnecessary on-site IT - while simultaneously backing up records off-site - is worth it.
Collaboration is also much easier in the cloud. Take Google docs, for instance. Any number of employees can easily access and edit a single document without having to purchase compatible software or hardware. They can also access them wherever they are - as long as they have access to a computer or device and wifi. Easy, universal access to documents allows small businesses more flexibility. It’s possible to run a small business without renting physical space now since employees can and do work from home or wherever they are comfortable and productive. That can mean enormous cost savings and completely eliminated barriers to entry.
What are some reasons that some small business owners are avoiding employing apps? There are a number. First of all, there are so many apps available, that many people feel unsure of which ones work well and best meet their needs. Secondly, there’s the cost. In the previous small-business model, software was an upfront cost. After the company purchased it, it could be used as much as and for as long as desired. Adopting cloud computing and apps means having to pay multiple monthly or otherwise regular fees that may go up over time. Also, once businesses make the switch to a specific service, they may feel like important aspects of their operations are held hostage to outside services over which they have neither control nor input.
Finally, companies want the apps they use to be simple and easy to use. The business landscape is still made up of at least three generations of people. Those people are not equally comfortable with computers, mobile devices, or apps.
Still, most business owners must feel the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages because the speed with which this change is happening is startling. When most of business is cloud dependent, this may have additional ramifications for how and where business is done.