Cloud driving flexible working for UK SMEs

Sixty per cent of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are already using cloud-based applications, according to the latest research from BT Business and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). 

The results, part of a wider survey which examined how the UK’s SMEs use and benefit from technology*, revealed that more than four fifths (86 per cent) of businesses have one or more members of staff working from home on a regular basis. 
Almost half of those businesses surveyed (47 per cent) have staff working away from the office at least once a week, while 28 per cent have someone working remotely every day. 

Of those interviewed, 43 per cent believed cloud-based applications were a critical element of effective flexible working, with more than half (52 per cent) suggesting that remote access to company data was essential; a similar number (50 per cent) cited wi-fi access when out of the office - for example, in cafes - as a key driver. 

UK businesses’ reliance on internet access was also highlighted by the research, with more than two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents believing that their companies couldn’t survive more than a day or two without a connection. 

Danny Longbottom, managing director, UK SME, BT Business, said: “Cloud has been a ‘buzzword’ for a couple of years now, but for our customers it’s a reality – and that is highlighted by our research. It can mean different things to different businesses – from email access and data storage, through to managed telephone services – but it is helping businesses work more effectively, as well as more flexibly.” 

Dr. Adam Marshall, executive director of policy, British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Flexible and remote working are crucial for companies across Britain, and cloud-based files and applications make this possible. Businesses are working in new and different ways, but easy access to information and communication tools are absolutely essential. Everything suggests that businesses dependence on the cloud is growing, and will continue to increase in future.” 

Danny Longbottom is speaking about how technology is helping UK businesses work more effectively at the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference in London on April 1, 2014. BT Business is also sponsoring the ‘Best use of Technology to Improve Business Performance’ at this year’s Chamber Awards. 


Notes to editors 

* Independent survey of 398 decision makers within small and medium enterprises (1-250 people), commissioned by BT Business, and conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce in February 2014. 

About the British Chambers of Commerce 

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. 

For more information,visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk