Australian SMEs failing to get on board with cloud computing: research

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The rollout of the national broadband network represents a “significant opportunity” for SMEs to adopt cloud computing products in their business, according to research released this week by Ovum.

But one SME internet service provider told SmartCompany it is still too early to know exactly what those opportunities will look like.

The Ovum research, commissioned by the NBN Co, cited previously released figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority that just 44% of Australian SMEs are taking advantage of cloud computing products.

The Ovum study found SMEs are currently favouring basic cloud hosting services, including email, security and web services, ahead of newer cloud products including advanced applications, online marketing tools and data security, but found higher-speed broadband will encourage a take-up of more cloud computing products among SMEs.

“Access to the latest technologies powered by fast and reliable broadband is vital in helping Australian businesses remain competitive in the global digital economy,” said Ovum research director David Kennedy.

“However, due to the resources and bandwidth required, many advanced business tools including cloud services have not previously been accessible by small businesses.”

“The NBN rollout will allow businesses of all sizes to discover a host of new products and tools, no matter where they are located and without the need for in-house specialist skills.”

Sam Bashiry, founder of Smart50 finalist Broadband Solutions, told SmartCompany in the overall scheme of things, the NBN will “change things for the better” for companies like his own, which offers broadband products in the B2B market.

But he says the proposed benefits of the NBN have been thrown around for “way too long” and to date, the connections that have been rolled out have been focused on residential users, rather than businesses.

“It will level the playing field for smaller providers and there will be opportunities, but it is still early days,” Bashiry says.

Nevertheless, Bashiry believes it’s important for all small providers to get on board directly with the NBN, rather than attempting to use one of the bigger telecommunications providers as an intermediary.

“You have to be part of it,” he says.

“That’s why we did our on-boarding with the NBN over 12 months ago. Having a direct relationship with the NBN is important.”

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Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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