Cloud technology has the potential to produce the greatest productivity gains for small to medium businesses.
This is one of the findings of the US Deloitte 2014 Report on Technology, and it holds true in South Africa due to the advancement of cloud technology, which is enabling local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete globally as they can now access a wider variety of tools and systems that were not available a few years ago.
Ambarish Gupta, CEO and founder of Knowlarity, who explains that in the past, big companies had a competitive advantage as they could set up large call centres, rent or buy big offices, employ massive human resources, purchase expensive tools and spend big amounts of money on marketing. “Due to capital constraints, SMEs didn’t have the ability to compete with these bigger corporations. Now, the advent of cloud technology is becoming a key component in the success of small businesses.”
He says that through the use of cloud communication and shared economies, small businesses are no longer at a disadvantage when it comes to competing globally. By spending minimal capital on cloud systems, SMEs can equip themselves with similar systems that big corporates enjoy, at a much lower cost. “There are numerous tools freely available on the internet, and when entrepreneurs do through research to find proper cloud-based systems they are able to enter a much bigger playing field.”
Entrepreneurs can now implement cloud based services and functions at the fraction of the cost that it would have been a few years ago, he adds. “Most technological tools and systems are inexpensive solutions to problems that SMEs faced years ago and now, these are the solutions that lead to great customer services and customer satisfaction.”
The internet has made the world a smaller place, making it possible for a company to compete beyond its country’s borders. He says that consumers and businesses alike are able to buy products or services from overseas as well as communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. “This has made the competitor field for SMEs so much bigger.”
Gupta advises that South African SMEs should strive to compete with global players. “There is a lot of innovation happening on the African continent and those who don’t wake up to the opportunities will be left behind. Economies in the world are ever-changing and if one entrepreneur missed the opportunity to compete globally, a competitor will notice the gap.”
When small businesses strive to compete globally they must offer a world-class service or product to its consumers in another country, says Gupta. “In addition, they need to ensure that they have a competitive advantage in order to ensure that they can build and retain an international client-base. Cloud communication services can offer small businesses a competitive advantage.
“By implementing cloud systems into business operations small businesses nowadays have no excuse for not expanding their operations across international borders,” he says.