SMBs turning to the cloud to save money and boost productivity

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As a result of using a cloud approach, nearly 80 per cent of IT professionals have saved money, boosted productivity and improved security, according to a new survey performed by Spiceworks and commissioned by Microsoft. On average, respondents reported cost savings of 20 per cent.

The survey of over 250 IT professionals at SMBs with fwer than 250 employees and an average budget of $100,000 found that 74 per cent of respondents are currently using some form of cloud or hosted service in an effort to simplify their daily tasks, lower costs and give employees always-on access to information and applications. The most common cloud services include web hosting (75 per cent), productivity solutions (55 per cent), email hosting (54 per cent) and content filtering (45 per cent).

The simplification of IT management was cited as the key driver for moving to a cloud approach, chosen by 58 per cent of respondents. Other drivers include; to increase availability (51 per cent); to reduce IT complexity (45 per cent); to reduce IT costs (44 per cent); to increase productivity (42 per cent); and, to improve support / service (35 per cent).

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Source: Spiceworks/Microsoft Office 365

SMBs are increasingly using and supporting smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices within their organizations. These devices are often BYOD and run on a range of operating systems. According to the report, nearly half of small business owners now routinely use smartphones to run day-to-day operations. As a result, it says, IT professionals in SMBs are looking for better ways to support mobile employees and provide better access and security from a growing range of devices – and cloud is a great way to do this.

IT professionals in the survey said 95 per cent of their organisations support laptops, while 88 per cent support smartphones and 78 per cent support tablets. It notes that the average SMB supports 29 laptops, 38 smartphones and 14 tablets on its network – although organisations in EMEA support considerably more laptops and smartphones than those in North America.

Smartphones emerged as the most commonly supported BYOD device across geographies. There was no single mobile OS platform that dominated in the survey – with most organisations seeing an even mix.

About Author

Gary Eastwood

Gary Eastwood has over 15 years of experience as a technology and business journalist and editor. He has held editorship positions on customer magazines for Microsoft, CSC, and EDF, as well as on B2B magazine Mobile Enterprise. He is the former Deputy Editor of Computer Business Review. In a freelance role, Gary has contributed numerous features and articles to a broad range of publications, including New Scientist, Computer Weekly, MIS, Marketing Week, Corporate Financier, Real Business, Wireless Business Review, and driven marketing communications projects for clients, such as Intel, the Confederation of British Industry, IBM, Logicalis, the Department of Trade & Innovation, and many others. Gary has written many white papers on a range of ITC subjects for Datamonitor. He is also an editorial photographer and business videographer, and has authored and ghost-written four books on photography. He is the Co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, which provides contract/customer magazines for a growing list of clients, and publishes the B2B magazine for business leaders, Strategist.