May 3, 2016 12:00 am
Mode’s recent in-depth survey of a variety of SMEs from different sectors including the medical industry, hospitality, finance and manufacturing has indicated some very clear and very positive trends for the future when it comes to cloud technology.
It’s not actually so long ago that dark predictions of a future without the need for print or paper were being bandied about in the world of both print and computing. This ‘death of print’ however has not only failed to materialize but quite the opposite.
The digital economy and an increasingly mobile business environment is behind a rise in the demand for cloud printing solutions and figures indicate that most companies are finding both the flexibility the cloud offers as well as the opportunity for more remote working opportunities are instrumental in their plans to continue implementing the use of cloud-enabled printers within their workspaces.
Cloud-enabled printers or multifunctional devices (MFDs) are revolutionizing the way SMEs and larger organisations manage their day-to-day business, expanding content-management possibilities beyond the realms previously imagined.
With the latest technology, the humble printer becomes a productivity enhancing fixture, saving time and money in the modern cloud-enabled workplace.
Providing a gateway between paper and digital is the ultimate aim of the latest advances and according to Mode’s survey, businesses are getting on board.
The need for print hasn’t gone away, we just want more flexibility
An overwhelming majority of SMEs currently using the cloud and surveyed by Mode, indicated that they planned to continue using the cloud over the coming year. Those SMEs also stated that the most important benefits already experienced were more flexibility and better opportunities for employees to benefit from remote working.
Flexibility is a key word here with a significant amount of participants looking to the future and planning to implement the necessary changes which would offer their workforce the benefits of more socially advantageous, remote and flexible working arrangements.
Home-based workers are a growing group within the UK and those figures are set to rise as more and more employees are seen to be taking advantage of the opportunity when it is offered. 13.9% of the British workforce were working from home in 2014 and as this figure is set to rise, employers will need to implement changes to their infrastructures to provide for this.
Growth in cloud solutions indicated despite predicted decline in IT spending
Recent research by Gartner Inc. has indicated that while expenditure on a global level is set to decline in 2016 when it comes to devices, the predicted growth of software expenditure is forecast to rise by 4.2%.
Of those SME’s surveyed by Mode who were not already using the cloud, 50% of them were open to or planning on implementing it in future. This could herald a change in the predicted shrinking of expenditure on devices as those companies not already benefitting from cloud solution jump on board.
These figures also indicate that despite the recent news illustrating a predicted downturn in global IT spending over the coming years, SMEs at least, appear to be planning quite the opposite.
In fact, 41% of those surveyed who were already using cloud computing solutions, indicated that they were planning to increase their cloud usage over the coming year which could have a knock-on effect on the trends for investment in new devices.
The cusp of change
We are still at the very brink of the changes which are allowing employers and workforces alike more flexibility and free movement thanks to mobile and cloud technologies and this is in part why change is so rapid and so difficult to predict accurately.
With around 60% of SMEs feeling they lack the knowledge and skills to successfully make the move towards full implementation of cloud computing and still more stating that they have security concerns in relation to utilising the cloud within the workplace, the future seems uncertain; however, government funding announced in 2015 to provide SMEs with grants worth up to £5,000 to pay for specialist advice to boost their cyber security, at least one aspect of the issue is more than surmountable.
As knowledge, funding and accessibility improves, it is almost certain that the predicted growth of cloud computing as seen in Mode’s survey, will continue to develop and be implemented sooner rather than later.
This post was written by Anwen Haynes1