There's some good news for cloud service providers out there, namely that SMEs are increasingly using the cloud, at least according to the latest report from BT and the British Chambers of Commerce.
According to the research, which was part of a wider look at how SMEs use technology on the whole, 15 per cent more small to medium-sized enterprises have been using cloud services in the last year.
That's a sizeable increase and it's partly driven by the benefits the cloud brings in terms of remote working, with 53 per cent of businesses questioned believing that cloud services are critical when it comes to working away from the office.
As to the total amount of businesses now using cloud-based apps, that stands at 69 per cent of all the businesses surveyed.
The research also pointed out that the vast majority of companies now have staff working from home, with nine out of ten organisations having at least one employee doing so.
One in five businesses take remote working very seriously, and have over half their staff members working away from the central office.
When it came to remote working, only two things were seen as more important than using cloud-based apps – namely, having Wi-Fi access away from the office, which 64 per cent said was a critical consideration, and 56 per cent said remote access to company data was critical.
When asked about what technology had made the biggest difference to their business over the past year, smartphones came top with 68 per cent of respondents citing mobiles, with improved Wi-Fi access on 54 per cent, followed by cloud-based apps on 42 per cent.
Dr. Adam Marshall, executive director of policy and external affairs, BCC, commented: “It is vital to ensure that UK businesses have access to world-class digital infrastructure if they are to maintain their competitiveness in a global marketplace.
“Cloud and mobile technologies are becoming increasingly important as firms expand into new markets and explore new ways of working – especially overseas. It is encouraging to see that so many British firms are adapting their working practices to take advantage of these developments.”