SMEs could reap considerable benefits from the National Broadband Network (NBN) by utilising Cloud-hosted services, according to Avaya.
Roy Wakim, director at Avaya Networking, said the NBN would not only save small businesses time with the quick 100Mbps speeds, but it would also save them money as it reduces the need for IT infrastructure and the costs involved with application management.
“It’s a more productive way to use up infrastructure by having everything up in the Cloud. The NBN provides the speeds and access that you need to do that,” Wakim told Computerworld Australia.
“It allows them to become more flexible. SMEs need to be very nimble in Australia as they start to grow outside their own cities.”
Reducing the need for servers and IT infrastructure also means businesses are able to establish themselves quickly and easier as business applications can be accessed from anywhere – the home, the office and on the road.
Even basic applications, such as hosted mail or word processing programs such as Word, can utilise NBN speeds, Wakim said.
“As well, when they start using their mobile phone devices [and] their smartphones, having access to that information up in the Cloud [and] having high-speed access from your office assists on the mobile as well,” Wakim said.
“They can always be out on the road and [there will be] a lot of the productivity gains that we’ll get from it and ... having everything on demand.”
Start-ups could also utilise the high speeds of the NBN to enable them to operate on a low cost basis. If a start-up is able to locate all their applications in the Cloud, they could easily operate from home and would not need to buy IT servers.
Kylie Hargreaves, executive director, investment and export services at NSW Trade and Investment, said the NBN will also help facilitate trends such as mobility, Big Data and analytics.
“I would think anything that has a dramatic improvement in our broadband capabilities is going to be good for us,” she said.
The ability to connect with other people around the world and export goods and services through start-ups will also play an integral role in Australia’s competitive advantage, she said. However, high-speed networks and the use of applications which use those networks will provide challenges.
“The challenge is going to be more around what does that mean for things like your digital footprint – your privacy ... For their business model, what and how can you use Cloud intelligently to reduce your costs and improve your customer relationships and your service offering [and] maintain [it], particularly in this world of very large volumes of data and strong concerns about privacy," she said.
While SMEs and start-ups will have to navigate the potential complexities of Cloud and how to use the NBN to utilise their use of it, Wakim said more SMEs will begin to adopt it as the NBN is rolled out.
SMEs and start-ups could also benefit from the NBN by linking offices and branches together, according to Wakim.
“The faster connection capabilities the NBN will provide will facilitate better collaboration between the offices and branches and as result, improve productivity,” Wakim said. “As more SMEs come online, connections between SMEs will be quicker, ensuring speedier and easier transactions.”
However, Wakim concedes start-ups and SMEs are currently not aware of the benefits they could gain from the NBN and utilising the Cloud and it needs to be as straightforward a process as possible.
“We have to facilitate the technology that plugs into the NBN and have the access to [things like] the Cloud simple,” he said.
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