Cloud computing has changed the competitive landscape, making it easier for South African small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to compete with large corporates.
A survey conducted by the Jo’burg Centre for Software at the University of Witswatersrand reveals that 51% of the survey respondents were very positive that cloud computing systems would simplify IT systems in their business.

Ambarish Gupta, CEO and founder of cloud-telephony company Knowlarity, says more SMME owners and entrepreneurs need to implement cloud based technologies in their businesses to overcome the infrastructure burden.

“Small businesses often do not have the capital equal to that of the big corporates, therefore they are not able to implement the same infrastructure as the large corporate companies, which can place them at a disadvantage when it comes to client servicing.”

Cloud-based technologies and applications are the key for SMMEs to overcome the challenge of finding and using start-up capital on infrastructure, notes Gupta. “When SMMEs increase their use of cloud communication, they can be empowered to implement similar infrastructure systems as big companies and can therefore provide the same level of customer-service.”

He says that SMMEs globally are faced with various risks including lack of infrastructure, funding and opportunities. Most SMMEs flourish despite the tough conditions they face, which is a clear indication of ingenuity and resourcefulness among these entrepreneurs.

Gupta explains that unfortunately, the challenge of the infrastructure burden is deteriorating due to SMMEs increasingly being attracted to automated systems via cloud computing. “Cloud communication and systems offer numerous benefits to businesses, which typically operate with limited budgets unlike the big corporates, because it makes technological investments small businesses more attainable.”

Some of the key drivers that assist the growing use of the cloud telephony market in some developing countries include increased internet penetration, improved network providers and the increased use of smartphones and applications among consumers, he says.

“The companies that offer state of the art technologies which will lead to an improved consumer experience will be the ones who excel and remain relevant. It is important to understand that consumers will initially become clients of the IT systems rather than its users, so selecting a professional cloud service is crucial to success.”