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Cloud Computing Will Be Used by 78 Percent of Small Businesses in 2020

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The cloud is not only being adopted by small businesses, it is changing the nature of small business, according to a report from Emergent Research and Intuit. By 2020, 78 percent of small businesses will be fully adapted to cloud computing, up from 37 percent in 2014, according to the report, called Small Business Success in the Cloud.

The report points to the convergence of four sets of factors: socio-economic; technology and infrastructure; platforms and ecosystems; and customer needs. These factors are creating a different kind of workforce serving different markets with different tools, and changing some of the basic patterns of small business.

“This report paints a detailed picture of how small businesses will increasingly use cloud technology not only for efficiency gains, but also in more transformative ways that redefine the rules for achieving long-term success,” Terry Hicks, vice president and general manager, QuickBooks Online Ecosystem at Intuit said.

These changes are creating four new types of small businesses. “Plug-in players” are businesses delivering custom solutions to go with service platforms or products provided by other companies. “Portfolioists” build a career out of multiple income streams, which may or may not leverage each other. “Hives” are collaborations formed to share talent to meet mutual needs. “Head-to-Headers” are small businesses which leverage new technology and platforms to reach markets traditionally available only to large corporations.

The report is the first of a series called “Dispatches from the New Economy,” based on a 10-year partnership between Emerge and Intuit.

In July Microsoft launched new Office 365 plans for small businesses, and EIG extended an SMB outreach partnership with Google, both moves to reach a market Parallels pegged at $125 billion by 2016.

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