Business appetite for Cloud technology is growing, but we are far from reaching the tipping point in adoption. This is according to CTO Jon Wrennall at British software and services company Advanced, who believes Cloud providers need to do more to boost confidence and knowledge among SMEs that are reluctant in moving to the Cloud.
Wrennall commented: “We are all familiar with the concept of the Cloud, but we are led to believe that businesses are well on their way in Cloud adoption. This is far from the truth. Our latest research shows that just 33% of organisations admit to being experienced in the Cloud and 37% have only recently launched Cloud computing projects for the first time.
“Every business owner will have its own pain points, but most would agree it’s difficult to get a handle on production, sales and finance while keeping pace with growth. The Cloud can help by giving them a complete view of the business, but there are still SMEs that find it difficult to see how it works and recognise the tangible benefits available to them.
So there is still a job to be done in proving the Cloud’s worth and that responsibility should fall on the Cloud providers. Until we help SMEs become confident adopters, we won’t reach the tipping point in Cloud adoption.”
Advanced sees the Cloud’s potential to impact every small business and, for this reason, has launched a Cloud-first strategy to deliver a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that is accessible and adaptable for all.
In July, the company acquired Hudman, developer of an award-winning Cloud-based SaaS Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Three months on, it has unveiled Advanced Business Cloud Essentials as the new name for the Hudman SaaS solution and signed up several small businesses during the process.
James Gourmet Coffee, J S Bailey, Aspire Furniture and Aspire Manufacturing are examples of organisations that have invested in the solution, which covers the entire business process from accounts and payroll through to operations, stock, customers and the supply chain.
The founder of Aspire Furniture, a fast-growing online mail order furniture business, says the cloud ERP solution has been an incredible tool for supporting its growth over the last three years, and that he would never turn back from the cloud.
Kit Burgoyne, co-owner and founder of the business, explained: “From day one, I had a clear vision of what I needed from an ERP solution, a tool that would automate and manage the full logistical process from sales orders to create invoices and purchase orders, through to sending out the orders.
The team worked with us to ensure the solution was right. Since then, we’ve grown from ten orders a day to 500 a day in only three years and the solution has proved reliable and scalable. We achieved £2.2 million revenue in 2016 and anticipate doubling that in 2017, and we see the solution scaling to support us easily.
As a wholesaler, being able to upload orders directly from the retailers’ system has saved us three hours a day, freeing up at least two people from manually inputting orders to much more valuable work.
“I’d never go back from using the cloud. I can get a complete view of the business accessing the solution wherever I am – working from home, out and about or even while on holiday. That access has been so valuable. One of the keys to our success is that the sales team simply focus on sales, confident that the back-office logistics will run smoothly.”
Mark Dewell, Managing Director – Commercial and Third Sector at Advanced, adds: “The latest customer wins are sure signs that Cloud adoption is accelerating in the SME sector and that breadth of businesses that can use the Cloud to gain a competitive advantage.
The ERP element of Cloud technology has many uses too. For example, we are already seeing a strong interest from online businesses to use it from a sales management and order processes perspective, and from manufacturers for stock control and production processes.
“Integrated ERP is very compelling – the ability to manage all your business processes from one source and have real-time information at your fingertips has been desired for a long-time".