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Rise in remote working fuels demand for cloud tech

Cloud computing take-up among UK SMEs has increased 15% in the past year as more companies allow staff to work from home.

This is one of the key findings of new research from BT Business and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) that examines how UK SMEs use and benefit from technology.

The survey found that 69% of businesses use cloud-based applications, with more than half (53%) believing that they are critical to effective remote working.

The research also found that 91% of companies now have at least one member of staff working from home, while a fifth of businesses (19%) have more than half of their workforce working away from their main office location.

Other technologies seen as critical for effective remote working include remote access to company data (56%), wifi access when out of the office (64%) and fibre-optic broadband (33%).

Smartphones are seen as the technology that has made the biggest impact on businesses in the past 12 months (68%), followed by improved wifi access (54%) and cloud-based applications (42%).

When asked about the benefits the internet has brought to their business, 79% cited increased speed of communication, followed by improvements to customer service (64%) and enabling flexible working (63%).

Danny Longbottom, managing director, UK SME, BT Business, said: 

"Technology is at the heart of a lot of the dramatic changes we're seeing within the UK SME market - whether that's offering the realistic possibility of working from home, increasing the effectiveness of people when they're out of the office or opening up new markets, both in the UK and internationally."

Dr Adam Marshall, BCC's Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs, said: 

"It is vital to ensure that UK businesses have access to world-class digital infrastructure if they are to maintain their competitiveness in a global marketplace. Cloud and mobile technologies are becoming increasingly important as firms expand into new markets and explore new ways of working - especially overseas. It is encouraging to see that so many British firms are adapting their working practices to take advantage of these developments."

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