The results of a survey commissioned by Microsoft for Small Business Week in the US has found, unsurprisingly, that 86 percent of small business understand the importance of technology in general to help promote success. But the survey also found that very few businesses are taking advantage of cloud technology -- and worryingly there is a notable percentage that have no knowledge of the cloud at all.
Although technology is seen as being important, small business also see a number of problems. This concerns include the costs involved, needing to be aware of security, and the need to be able to access the same data on multiple devices. Ironically, despite the fact that only 30 percent of those surveyed are using the cloud, and 10 percent are completely unfamiliar with it, these are all problems that could be addressed by embracing cloud technology.
In a blog post by General Manager of Microsoft Office, Kirk Gregersen, Microsoft points out that cloud based software such as Office 365 brings enterprise level technology to businesses of all sizes, while taking care of many of the concerns small companies have about technology in general.
It seems as though there is some way to go as 12 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t have a good solution for collecting, storing and sharing data, and 30 percent were still reliant on physical folders and filing cabinets.
Microsoft highlighted the need for business to embrace cloud technology, picking out a number of scenarios in which Office 365 and the cloud can be particularly helpful:
- Wi-Fi isn’t available on your flight – with a well-chosen productivity tool, you can use the option of working offline and then synchronize everything later.
- Change devices, keep the formatting – Office 365 provides the highest standards for maintaining document format; whether you are working alone, with others, at your PC, using a web browser, on a tablet or on a smart phone.
- You forgot the most recent version of your documents – here a personal storage server for documents can help, like OneDrive for Business, where the latest versions of documents are always securely stored and synchronized to all connected devices, so they’re accessible from anywhere, even if you are offline. Through a simple link you can invite colleagues or customers to work on a document together with you.
- You need quick consultation with the team – contact your colleagues or partners using audio- or video-conferencing with add options for document sharing and editing with Lync.
- You’re looking for new ideas – use enterprise social tools with your internal team or with external partners through tools like Yammer.
There was a roundtable discussion hosted by Kelly Thompson Clark, the CEO and president of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, which you can check out below: