A survey conducted by Amarach on six-hundred Donegal SMEs has found that their collective failure to embrace cloud technology is putting them at a competitive disadvantage.
Research by Amarach of 600 SMEs conducted on behalf of telecoms provider Magnet shows that just 14pc of small firms in Donegal and the Border counties say they have implemented a cloud solution of some kind for their business, compared to 45pc in Dublin.
Over 90pc of SMEs in Donegal are still using and paying for a conventional phone system, which according to Amarach Research could be costing small business in Ireland over €266 million per year, much of which could be taken out of the sector’s cost base.
By contrast, a quarter of Dublin SMEs have moved to VoIP (voice over internet telephony) or a cloud phone system.
43pc of employees of small firms in the Capital have access to company data via their smartphone, while this falls to just 14pc in the case of firms in the Border counties, despite the fact that more staff there regularly work outside the office.
Mark Kellet CEO of Magnet said, “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 very companies that need the technology aren’t availing of it.
Kellett was addressing over 250 local business people as part of a Magnet roadshow across the country.
Only 3pc 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 50pc 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 90pc 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 delivered over any broadband connection, not just Magnet’s.