Small businesses turn to the cloud for innovation and collaboration, study says

A newly released study indicates that the cloud is having a significant and fast-growing strategic impact on U.S. companies, both large and small. Conducted by Oxford Economics and sponsored by Windstream Communications, a provider of advanced network communications, “The Path to Value in the Cloud” study included 350 business executive across the US. Participants represented companies with revenues from $25 million up to one billion and more, although the majority (75 percent) was below $750 million.

Major themes surrounding cloud computing that emerged from the survey, according to Windstream in its announcement of the survey, are:

  • Cloud technology is driving business strategy. More than half of survey respondents identified that the cloud will be critical to their business’ innovation strategy in two years while 57 percent said it will enable their company to move into new geographic markets.
  • Cloud technology is driving business value. According to survey results, roughly two-thirds of respondents expect the cloud to support innovation and customer service delivery within two years. Moreover, 88 percent of large companies surveyed said that the cloud would enable more collaboration among business units.
  • Cloud security is a concern among adopters. When asked, 76 percent of survey respondents noted cloud security as their primary concern with migration, while platform compatibility and privacy ranked highly with just over half of respondents.
  • Trailblazers are realizing cloud benefits ahead of their peers. Trailblazers, or those organizations that adopted cloud technology early on, have higher profit margins and are more likely to be profitable than other respondents. More than half of trailblazer organizations stated that the cloud was critical for innovation, compared with 33 percent of non-trailblazers.

Oxford Economics also found that decisions about cloud engagement frequently revolve around a few key issues. Small businesses are more likely to cite pricing and scalability as top concerns (41 percent) than largest companies (5 percent)

Even with their enthusiasm for the cloud, however, only 31 percent of participants said they have a clear migration path in place and less than half have defined metrics for Key Performance Indicators (43 percent) and Return on Investment (40 percent).

Get started with cloud computing

Still wondering if cloud computing is right for your small business? Check out Plantronics new How to Move your Business to the Cloud guide.In addition to identifying some of the top cloud applications and services, such as storage and sharing, online meeting and conferencing and email, the guide provides information on cloud computing options and tips how to get started.

You’ll find more information on the other technology trends impacting small business on Plantronics small and medium-business solutions site.

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