Small firms embrace the cloud

Baacco describes itself as a “cloud-first business”, which may seem strange for a firm selling and delivering bottles of wine.

Co-founder Tai Alegbe reckons the London-based marketplace could not have gained customers in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Spain without tapping in to around 25 cloud-based tools.

“Cloud-based services and platforms have been central to our success to date and we consider them as integral to our future,” he says.

Baacco is one of a growing number of small firms outsourcing a range of business functions to online service providers.

More than three quarters of US-based small businesses expect to have fully adopted cloud technology by 2020, according to a study by Emergent Research and Intuit.

No wonder the value of the global retail cloud market rose from $4.2bn in 2011 to $15.1bn (£10.5bn; €13.3bn) in 2015, according to research by consultancy firm, Accenture.

Baacco uses the cloud to help with everything from processing payments to sharing documents between the team, says Mr Alegbe. It also helps ensure that “international users of our platform have the same experience as UK customers.”

Analytical tools from companies like Mixpanel, Crazy Egg and Google Analytics have been instrumental in helping Baacco grow the business overseas, says Mr Alegbe.

“They allow us to build, measure and learn about our customers far quicker than any other method,” he says.

For example, when the company realised they had higher-than-usual drop-offs at the checkout from its French and Spanish consumers, they analysed the data provided by cloud-based tool Crazy Egg and learnt that they were being put off by the unfamiliar payment logos.

Globally integrated

“The cloud provides a more affordable, flexible and scaleable platform that greatly enhances small retailers’ opportunities to manage, share and control its data – and function like a globally integrated enterprise,” says Vish Ganapathy, vice president and chief technology officer at tech giant, IBM.

Rather than installing and maintaining software on computers kept on your own premises, it makes sense to buy in services from the cloud, from accounting to web hosting, inventory management to marketing.

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