01 Mar Avantisteam Says: How the cloud can level the playing field for SMEs competin…
Mon, Mar 02, 2020 – 5:50 AM
The digital economy is set to add as much as US$10 billion to Singapore’s GDP by 20211, increasing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.6 per cent. This represents a huge opportunity for businesses and explains the surge in digital transformation initiatives.
But even as businesses in Singapore pivot towards the creation of new digital products and services, the relentless pressure of intensifying global competition and shortened business cycles mean they need to innovate more and react faster. Without the resources of much larger players, SMEs have to think of ways to operate more efficiently to free up resources for innovation.
Closing the gap
Unsurprisingly, SMEs are turning to the cloud to address this need. Not only does the cloud make it easier for businesses to collaborate and share data to get things done quicker, but it also allows them to narrow the gap with much larger competitors. From cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive to cloud accounting systems like Xero, a broad range of advanced capabilities can be accessed at a monthly subscription fee.
Crucially, SMEs don’t have to set aside large sums of capital expenditure to acquire and deploy IT hardware, and then spend weeks or months configuring or developing the requisite software services. Instead, businesses can sign up for the cloud services that they like from a web browser, and have it up and running within minutes or hours. In most cases, they can also sign up for a risk-free trial to evaluate the suitability of a cloud service.
It is hence easy to see why 74 per cent of Chief Technology Officers say the cloud has the most measurable impact on their business, according to a survey done in 2017 by advisory firm BDO2. And based on the rapid growth of the cloud, organisations around the world agree with the results of this survey. According to analyst firm IDC, spending on the public cloud by businesses is estimated to have reached US$210 billion in 20193. This is projected to grow by 22.5 per cent over the next five years, with total investment hitting US$370 billion in 2022.
Success through the cloud
Access a broad range of advanced capabilities in the cloud for a simple subscription fee. PHOTO: XERO
The cloud offers many other advantages, allowing businesses to leverage a host of capabilities that are easy to implement without the associated outlay. Here are some capabilities that SMEs can expect when they turn to the cloud:
- Data management: Data stored in the cloud is managed automatically and is accessible regardless of one’s physical location. As data backups are performed in the background, businesses don’t need to worry about system crashes or data corruption. Data can also be shared between departments, or with an external contractor such as the audit firm.
- Device-agnostic access: Access vital company records from the comfort of your favourite devices, whether a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. With the information being stored in the cloud, SMEs can access the information as and when they need it, thus allowing them to make important decisions quicker. This allows them to push ahead with new business initiatives at a much faster pace.
- Automation and real-time updates: Manual data entry is time-consuming and prone to errors. With the ability to synchronise data over the Internet, SMEs can save time by connecting to external data sources such as their banks for real-time account updates.
- Collaboration: The cloud enables remote working. Employees of SMEs can work with colleagues without having to be in the same office at the same time. Digitalised workflows and documents translate to far faster processing of mundane yet essential functions such as invoicing and payment approvals.
- Access to the latest technology: Because the technology is based in the cloud, SMEs don’t have to worry about system maintenance and software updates. Moreover, new capabilities and upgrades are pushed out automatically, giving businesses the latest capabilities without the need for disruptive system upgrades or software development.
Focus on innovation
The forces of disruption are gathering pace. By leveraging the cloud, SMEs can even the playing field with far larger competitors, as well as leverage cutting-edge capabilities to fully maximise their organisation’s potential.
With a cloud-based accounting system such as Xero, SMEs can easily automate manual bookkeeping tasks such as document collection and data entry. Packed with capabilities to help SMEs save time, even tasks that are traditionally tedious such as bank reconciliation and management of financial documents are now a breeze.
In addition, the popular Hubdoc document collection and management tool is now integrated with Xero and provided free of charge to users. And armed with support for PEPPOL, SMEs can also issue e-invoices on the PEPPOL network for a seamless and efficient invoicing process, allowing them to focus on innovation and disrupting their industries.
Click here to try Xero free for 30 days.
1 – https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/digital-transformation-to-contribute-us10b-to-singapores-gdp-by-2021-study
2 – https://www.bdo.com/getattachment/022227f4-aa2e-4a8b-9739-b0ad6b855415/attachment.aspx?2017-Technology-Outlook-Report_2-17.pdf
3 – https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44891519