UK SMEs are turning to the cloud for flexibility benefits and cost savings

A new piece of research has pointed out that SMEs in the UK have taken to the cloud in order to achieve greater flexibility, and to reduce IT costs.

The study, which was conducted by Vistage and obtained the opinions of 439 CEOs, Managing Directors and SME business owners, found that half of SMEs who are members of Vistage (49 per cent to be precise) have adopted the cloud. It also found that 11 per cent are planning a shift cloud-wards in the "near future", so very soon 60 per cent of SMEs will have their fortunes tied up with the cloud.

On the negative side, 24 per cent said no, they weren't planning to make use of the cloud for their enterprise.

As for the key draw of the cloud – that was flexibility according to 45 per cent of respondents, along with easy access to company data (from anywhere) which was also cited by 45 per cent. The third key benefit was disaster recovery, which was indicated as a major boon by 28 per cent of those surveyed.

When it came to smaller businesses, 22 per cent said they expected a move to the cloud would save them money, particularly in terms of IT spend. Vistage also found that moving cloud-wards was affecting some small organisations' business strategies, with 22 per cent stating that they had changed strategy "somewhat" since moving to the cloud.

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The survey also found that the main reason for adopting the cloud was to assist their mobile workforce with greater flexibility – 36 per cent of businesses said this was the case.

Steve Gilroy, CEO of Vistage, said: "Our research shows the cloud has clearly moved out of the realm of novelty in the mid-sized business sector. Britain's mittelstand business owners have wholeheartedly adopted cloud services and use them not only for web hosting but also for their CRM and contact management, and are now starting to use cloud-based systems to enable a more mobile and flexible workforce."

In terms of those services being used, 34 per cent of respondents said they used the cloud for CRM and contact management, 32 per cent for web hosting, and 28 per cent for document and file storage.

Read more: 8 reasons why businesses that fail to adopt the cloud will be left behind