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Study: fewer than half of SA’s SMEs use cloud services

According to a report by research firm World Wide Worx, the number of SMEs in South Africa using cloud services has jumped 10% since last year, to 39% in 2015. This statistic is expected to increase in the future as more and more businesses start to realise the benefits of online services.

Arthur Goldstuck, the MD of World Wide Worx and principal researcher for the SME Survey 2015, says that this is a good sign for companies looking to overcome traditional obstacles:

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“For the first time, we are seeing a real take-up of cloud services, which indicates that more and more SMEs are overcoming their natural apprehensions around the cloud and are instead starting to realise the benefits this can offer.”

Goldstuck adds that a lot of businesses rely on cloud services without even realising it. This, he claims, is due to a lack of education around the subject.

Read more: Why having the right cloud security is so important for small business

The survey, for example, found that 83% of SMEs used email services. A further 47% of SMEs said that they made use of online backups, while 37% utilised online accounting, 27% used an online project management service and 25% had an online customer relationship management solution.

Ethel Nyembe, the head of small enterprise at Standard Bank, further elaborates why cloud adoption is so important for SMEs:

“Cloud-based products can provide small and medium business owners with efficient, simple and cost-effective business management solutions, thus saving the enterprise time and money, which is vital for prosperity. For example, cloud-based HR applications are more economical than tailored in-house systems, as they involve no upfront costs and are adaptable, thus giving the entrepreneur the time needed to focus on innovation.”

Goldstuck further expects more than 50% of SMEs in the country will be using the cloud by 2016.

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