The lockdowns that were put in place across the world in March caused significant challenges for millions of businesses created an opportunity for many tech companies. Most immediately, vendors with cloud-based communications and other business solutions had an immediate opportunity to help companies transition to remote working, literally overnight. Judging from the increase in usage many of them reported, their efforts were successful and enabled countless businesses to remain functional for the past three months.
A very recent study by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE (News - Alert) Council) of businesses with fewer than 100 employees confirms as much and highlights how critical cloud technologies have been in helping small businesses survive.
More than three-quarters of small businesses say cloud services have been essential to their continued operations during the pandemic. But, it goes beyond simply keeping businesses functioning: 79% say cloud services have actually helped them communicate with customers more effectively during the pandemic. Customer engagement should always be a priority, but it has become even more critical during this pandemic, with a third of consumers saying they have stopped spending with brands that have become disengaged for fear they are having financial issues.
One of the concerns many companies have always have with teleworking is productivity. We have already seen many reports that employees are generally working more, not less, during the pandemic. Overwhelmingly, small businesses (84%) also report improved productivity and collaboration thanks to cloud services, with cloud storage and backup, email/web/application hosting, payroll processing, communications/collaboration, and video conferencing/webinars among the most widely used cloud-based services.
That likely also is why two-thirds say their adoption of cloud solutions will speed up their path to recovery and profitability as the pandemic subsides. More than half actually believe their cloud services will lead to a faster and more efficient re-opening after the lockdown. Other benefits small business cite include making their companies more competitive (73%) and saving time and money (89%).
The benefits of cloud are no secret, but the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly highlighted the need for businesses to transition to modern solutions, which many small businesses may have been postponing due to budget constraints. For those companies still debating whether they should invest in cloud, these results clearly suggest they’ve already waited too long.
“There is no doubt that technology platforms and the cloud have served as a lifeline for many small businesses during the COVID-19 shutdown period. These tools will continue to play a central role during the recovery period and beyond,” said Karen Kerrigan, CEO & President, SBE Council. “They are not a luxury or even an option, but a necessity during the shutdown and uncertain re-opening period in order to communicate, make payroll, market and sell goods and services, and keep the doors of the business ‘open’ generally.”
Edited by Erik Linask