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Are Asian SMBs ready for the cloud?

Nurdianah Md Nur | Sept. 15, 2016
Some SMBs are still in the process of understanding how cloud will really help them, while others are held back by regulations, says Fuji Xerox's Leon O’ Reilly.

Fuji Xerox's Leon O’ Reilly
Leon O' Reilly, general manager, Regional Solution Centre, Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific. Credit: Fuji Xerox.

According to the ASEAN Economic Community, small medium businesses (SMBs), including micro enterprises, are the backbone of ASEAN development. They contribute between 30 percent and 53 percent to their country's gross domestic product (GDP), and account for between 88.8 percent and 99.9 percent of total businesses in ASEAN.

While cloud is making sweeping transformations for businesses globally, are SMBs leveraging it too? What are their concerns when it comes to using it? Leon O' Reilly, general manager, Regional Solution Centre, Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific, tells us more.

How has the adoption rate of cloud by SMBs in APAC been so far? What are SMBs using the cloud for?

The adoption rate of cloud solutions and services is growing rapidly amongst SMBs. With most SMB subscribing to at least one cloud service, Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific is seeing the highest consumption and adoption rate amongst SMBs, compared to mid-to-large enterprises.

The Asia Pacific Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), in its latest report, SMEs in Asia Pacific: The Market for Cloud Computing 2015, cites industry estimates on the annual growth rate for SMB cloud services in the region, to be around 42 percent - while mentioning that this number could be a conservative estimate, given the actual opportunities and the impact of cloud computing services on the overall SMB landscape in Asia.  

This growth is understandable as cloud gives SMBs and start-ups unprecedented access to enterprise-level tools and technologies previously out of their IT budgets.

Cloud technology works well for SMBs as it addresses the various challenges they face along the entire growth path. It allows SMBs to expand their web infrastructure and IT needs with minimal spending while its applications offer many opportunities for SMBs to innovate fast, reduce costs and focus on their core business activities. The scalability and flexibility of cloud solutions enable SMBs to address their needs at different stages of growth. For example, when the business reaches a matured phase, the ability of cloud to simplify and streamline operations can unlock more capital investment to facilitate greater growth. SMBs also benefit from the low maintenance required of cloud and the high security it offers with constant software updates and disaster recovery.

SMBs are adopting cloud technology at the infrastructure, applications and service layers, and advancing to use it in document-based business processes. Storage, document management, customer relationship management, communication-messaging and IT helpdesk are examples of popular cloud services amongst SMBs.

We've heard a lot about the benefits of the cloud. So what's holding some SMBs back from using the cloud? How should SMBs overcome these concerns?
While most SMBs have heard about the significant competitive business advantages that cloud can deliver, some of them are still in the process of understanding how it will really help them.


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