Cloud-based technology has been described as a critical tool for economic recovery.

According to Microsoft Country Manager for Nigeria, Ola Williams, cloud-based technology will play a critical role in enabling inclusive economic recovery, with SMBs able to innovate far quicker and more securely at a much lower cost.

The Future of Business Resilience report, released by Microsoft in 2020, notes that investing in the latest technology (which includes cloud computing) results in 20 to 30 percent higher workforce productivity, and 40 to 50 percent faster speed to market amongst some of the benefits.

Williams noted that: “This is the enabling environment that we should be nurturing for SMBs and new start-ups alike if our economies are to successfully rebound post-pandemic. There is no doubt that economic recovery will be buoyed by the success of our start-ups and small businesses.

“This is because, across the Middle East and Africa, an estimated 90 per cent of all businesses fall into the small-to-medium-sized (SMB) category, highlighting the economic importance of these entrepreneurial enterprises.

“The lesson thrust upon us by the pandemic is that building resilience is key to ensuring business continuity in ever-changing market conditions in which many SMBs are operating on tighter budgets.

“The required resilience is rooted in digital transformation, allowing businesses to streamline operations and evolve to better meet current needs while developing the agility that will enable quick pivots in response to future changes.”

Williams further stated that: “Cloud adoption amongst SMBs is a critical first step in their pursuit of resilience on their digital transformation journey.

“Beyond this first step, conducting business in the cloud in the long term is also the best bet for future-proofing operations in a global digital economy.

“This economy will be driven by the latest technologies, from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to the Internet of Things (IoT), which use the cloud as a platform.

“As the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation notes, “cloud computing is integral to new IT-driven business developments”, which, in themselves, will stimulate the economy by driving new solutions to existing problems.”

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