‘Lost in the Cloud’

Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet.

Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet.

Survey finds Waterford firms fail to embrace cloud technology

Failure to embrace cloud technology has put small firms in Waterford and elsewhere at a competitive disadvantage compared to Dublin companies, a new SME (small and medium enterprises) survey has revealed.

The survey by Amarach of 600 SMEs and conducted on behalf of Magnet shows that a mere 18pc of small firms in Waterford have implemented a cloud solution of some kind for their business, compared to 45pc of similar businesses in Dublin.

With large companies making use of the technology both in the sense of private clouds, for use within a single company to public clouds, for example, Apple’s iCloud which is intended to be accessible to the public, it seems to be the way forward for multinational and local businesses alike.

Ninety percent of SMEs in Waterford are still using, and paying for a conventional phone system, which according to the research could be costing small business in Ireland over €266 million per year, much of which could be taken out of the sector’s cost base.

By contrast, more than a quarter of Dublin SMEs have switched to VoIP (voice over internet telephony) or a cloud phone system, giving them a competitive edge.

Forty-three percent of employees of small firms in the Capital have access to company data through their smartphone or other devices, while this falls to just 23pc in the case of firms in Waterford and the South East.

“Staff in companies outside Dublin generally tend to work from home a lot or spend time in their cars, so they are missing an obvious opportunity to work smarter,” said Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet who was addressing over 250 local business people as part of a Magnet road-show across Ireland.

According to Amarach’s research, just three percent of eligible businesses have accessed the technology and business grants available to them, such as the Enterprise Ireland voucher and the Government’s Online Trading Voucher, according to the research.

The latter subsidizes half of the cost of putting the business online up to a maximum of €2,500 for firms that employ up to 10 people and with a €2m turnover.

“Our research shows that 90 per cent of SMEs are unaware of or misunderstand the Online Trading Voucher Scheme as a support to engaging in e-commerce,” says Kellett.

“We are encouraging more firms to take advantage of it and improve their competitiveness in the process. Used with our own package offering for SMEs it can equate to six months of totally free telecoms.”

Cloud computing allows for centralised data storage and the distribution of resources and services over the internet.

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