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Cloud helps SMBs, startups improve agility

Businesses in the U.S. and U.K. are implementing cloud computing services for a number of reasons, including the prospect of reducing costs in the face of economic uncertainty. This was highlighted in a recent study by the Manchester Business School and Vanson Bourne, which revealed that the majority of companies adopting the technology are actually cutting expenses.

The survey polled 1,300 U.S. and U.K. organizations and found that 88 percent of respondents have reduced expenses through their use of the cloud. Nearly two-thirds of decision-makers are taking these savings and reinvesting them into their business, helping to drive innovation, expand the workforce and support next-generation computing initiatives. For this reason, approximately 68 percent of executives said they plan on increasing their cloud spending in the coming years.

"The study shows just what an important impact cloud computing is having on U.K. and U.S. businesses," cloud expert John Engates said. "It's particularly interesting that, despite the ongoing economic backdrop, half of businesses on both sides of 'the pond' are actually increasing profits and growing their business through use of the cloud."

What the cloud does for business
In addition to providing financial savings for organizations, implementing a cloud infrastructure allows IT teams to focus on aligning technologies with corporate strategies and support innovative processes that deliver more substantial long-term benefits, the study noted. These capabilities are especially important for small and growing businesses, such as startups, that have less experience and fewer expendable resources.

"Cloud computing is heralding a boon for startups at a time when they are most needed. By making high end computing resources available on flexible payment terms at the push of a button we are significantly reducing the level of investment required to set up shop," said Brian Nicholson of the Manchester Business School. "It has arguably never been easier to start a business and much of that is down to the flexibility of cloud computing."

Parallels highlighted similar findings, noting that the global small business cloud market is forecasted to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent through 2015. This suggests that entrepreneurs and other firms are investing in the cloud with more enthusiasm to experience unique benefits and gain a competitive advantage over rival firms.

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