Small businesses everywhere struggle to adopt technology due to lack of time, resources and sometimes education about the latest tools that could help their companies succeed.
A new report released this week from 9 Spokes, though, is describing the current situation as “ironic,” as U.K. small businesses increasingly understand how cloud technology, in particular, can boost their businesses, but with many declaring they are too busy to implement those tools.
“The irony of this is startling,” said Andy Birch, 9 Spokes vice president for EMEA, in a statement reflecting on the company’s latest survey. “Both our research and our experience with our customers show that those who do use cloud-based technology see significant benefits and that once they start, they continue to use these services in the long-term.
“It’s clear that while time is a huge problem, for those SMEs who can take the time to research and implement such solutions, the knock-on benefits are enormous,” he continued.
The problem, 9 Spokes highlighted, is that only about 40 percent of small businesses in the U.K. are estimated to still be in operation by their fifth birthday. The research suggests that while businesses say they don’t have time to implement cloud solutions, not doing so may ultimately help to cut short the life of their business.
The report found that the majority of SMBs say they are too busy to implement cloud-based technologies because they have too many other responsibilities to research which tools will work best for their businesses. That’s despite the finding that a significant portion of small businesses admit they are interested in cloud technologies and apps, and are aware of the benefits they may offer.
Customer and employment management, and accounting and finance apps, are the most commonly used cloud-based apps already adopted by small businesses, the research found. The majority of SMBs surveyed agreed they are important to their business.
9 Spokes’ analysis seems to suggest U.K. small businesses are struggling compared with their U.S. counterparts. Earlier research released by Techaisle found that penetration of software-as-a-service solutions for small businesses in the U.S. are expected to reach 94 percent by the end of 2017. Researchers noted that adoption has steadily increased over the years, from 27 percent in 2011 to 73 percent in 2016.
At the time, Techaisle found that mid-market firms are clearly ahead of their small business peers when it comes to cloud adoption, however, with the mid-market using, on average, twice as many SaaS apps as their small business peers. But the report also predicted this gap will narrow.
In the U.K., however, analysts at 9 Spokes suggested SMBs are facing a flurry of challenges to implementing cloud-based tool like SaaS. Cloud service providers have to take a particular strategy to attract small- and medium-sized clients, the company suggested, including focusing on ease of use and flexibility.
More than half of decision makers at SMBs surveyed by 9 Spokes said their own personal experiences influence how they procure software and apps for their companies. That has led to companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram gaining significant traction within SMBs, the report found, with a bit of overlap between personal and professional use of these tools.
“We know that appropriate business-specific apps can have a significant and measurable impact on SMEs’ business, increasing efficiency and productivity and supporting the process of making important decisions,” Birch said. “Our goal is to overcome time management barriers by providing a selection of curated apps that will help small businesses narrow their search for the specific tool they need. That way, they can dedicate their time to what matters the most – growing their business.”