Why Cloud Computing Adoption is Vital for the Growth of South African SMEs

Cloud computing is a technical solution that can help SMEs grow, but they shy away from it.

Technology dependency is increasing globally and local SMEs can leverage technological advances to grow. Cloud computing is one such technology solution that can help SMEs grow, but they shy away from it. That’s because they think it’s intended for large enterprises, but it can be accessible and it’s necessary, said one technology expert. Visit the Technology and Trends home page for more stories.

Cloud computing is a crucial tool to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but they often shy away from adopting the technical solution because they feel it is only intended for large corporations.

But the adoption of cloud computing by SMBs offers tremendous benefits for these organizations.

Put simply, cloud technology or cloud computing means storing and accessing programs and data via the Internet instead of hardware, such as your own hard drives for data storage.

Various cloud technology or cloud computing services include access to servers, storage, databases, networks, software, analytics and internet intelligence to run one’s business faster and more efficiently.

The simplest advantages of using cloud technology for SMBs include data protection, data backup and recovery, big data analysis, antivirus applications, testing and development, e-commerce applications and more.

Most importantly, it enables organizations to scale, maintain flexibility, and focus their efforts on running the business rather than managing complex IT infrastructures.

According to One Linkage’s Chief Operating Officer, Pragasen Naicker, the adoption of cloud computing services by SMEs in South Africa is not yet strong, as many of these companies do not know how to integrate the technology solution into their company’s ecosystem.

In order to counteract this, there must be educational campaigns for SMEs, said Naicker.

One Linkage is a cloud technology company providing business services enabling the development and integration of cloud services for SMBs.

“I would say adoption is very low and the main reason for that could be a lack of awareness, a feeling that the cloud is too technical for SMBs, and also a lack of understanding of where the opportunities lie,” Naicker said to News24.

Event co-hosted by One Linkage with South African companies on using cloud technology to grow SMEs (Phumi Ramalepe / News24)


In the past, companies had to purchase individual licenses to gain access to different applications and software services, which was often a very expensive proposition.

Obtaining these services is more cost-effective with cloud computing.

This is because cloud services provide multiple functions in one. While cheaper than past solutions, it can still be considered steep in some cases, but Naicker said it’s a worthwhile investment.

“Affordability is both an issue and a sacrifice when it comes to building this productivity tool into your business in the first place,” said Naicker.

“If you can afford it, it helps tremendously. At One Linkage, we recognize that small businesses need the support and we are reaching out to businesses to help them integrate technology into their ESD programs.”

“If companies can support SMEs up front with the first technology or productivity tools and integrate them into their system, over the two-year support that companies give them, SMEs can become more productive and hopefully more sustainable.”

Business support for SMEs

Many large companies in South Africa have Business and Supplier Development (ESD) programs in place that aim to encourage the creation of sustainable growth partnerships between companies and entrepreneurs.

Companies like Telkom and Sasol – among others – have various initiatives to encourage the growth of SMEs through the use of cloud technology.

READ MORE | Google will launch an SA cloud region along with its competitors, but is reluctant to say when

According to Sasol’s head of business and supplier development, Jabulile Ratsibe, the chemical and energy company uses One Linkage to “give SMEs access to opportunities that are available within Sasol” – and the company also shares the offers of the SMEs, which it engages with its existing customers, creating an ongoing ecosystem of opportunities.

Sasol and other organizations involved in One Linkage then step in to get these small businesses where they need to be to become suppliers.

There are currently over 1,000 companies registered with Sasol from various industries that would like to be supported on the One Linkage platform.

“SMEs should try to get their businesses listed on platforms like One Linkage so that there is that visibility – and when opportunities arise, companies like Sasol can use the platform to check who’s there and what they’re doing,” Ratsibe said.