Failure to embrace cloud technology has put small firms in Mayo at a competitive disadvantage compared to Dublin companies, a new SME survey has revealed.
Research by Amarach of 600 SMEs conducted on behalf of telecoms provider Magnet shows that just 23 per cent of small firms in Mayo say they have implemented a cloud solution of some kind for their business, compared to 45 per cent in Dublin.
Eighty per cent of SMEs in the west are still using and paying for a conventional phone system, which according to Amarach Research could be costing small business in Ireland €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 moved to VoIP (voice over internet telephony ) or a cloud phone system.
Forty three per cent of employees of small firms in the capital have access to company data via their smartphone, while this falls to just 25 per cent in the case of firms in Mayo and the west, despite the fact that more staff there regularly work outside the office.
“Staff in companies outside Dublin tend to work from home more and spend more time in their cars, so they are missing an obvious opportunity to work smarter. The companies that need the technology aren’t availing of it,” says Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet. Kellett was addressing 250 local business people as part of a Magnet roadshow across the country.
Only three per cent of eligible SMEs have accessed the technology and business grants available, such as the Enterprise Ireland voucher and the Government’s Online Trading Voucher, according to the research. The latter subsidises 50 per cent of the cost of going online up to a maximum of €2,500 for firms of up to 10 people and €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.” Magnet’s Office-in-a-Box solution for SMEs provides unlimited broadband; hosting; web domain, phone calls and even a promotional video from €149.99 per month.
In conjunction with the Online Trading Voucher through Local Enterprise Offices, eligible SMEs can reduce this cost to just €75.
Magnet’s innovative cloud phone system is low bandwidth intensive, meaning it is suitable even for areas where basic wired or wireless connectivity is available and can be dialled to any broadband connection, not just Magnet’s.