The cloud – it's one of the biggest technology buzzwords to have emerged in the last decade, and for good reason.
Experts all around the world agree that cloud computing is well and truly here to stay, with businesses and consumers alike rushing to take advantage of the affordability, productivity and performance benefits this technology can offer.
Cloud computing records astonishing growth
In February, research firm MarketsandMarkets predicted the global cloud computing market will be worth more than $121 billion by the year 2015, expanding at an astonishing compound annual growth rate of 26.2 per cent since 2010.
And it's not just nations like the US and the UK that are leaping to capitalise on the cloud – Australian businesses and consumers are also embracing this platform.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) estimates that 80 per cent of Australians aged 18 years and over – just under 14 million people – actively used cloud computing services between November 2012 and May 2013.
Uptake amongst businesses is also impressive, with 44 per cent of Australian SMEs reportedly using the cloud over this same period.
Amongst these cloud-innovative SMEs, the majority cited easier and more convenient access to services, and the ability to access services from multiple locations, as their main reasons for being on the cutting edge of this technology.
Australia's enthusiasm for the cloud shows no signs of slowing down either. In fact, the 2013 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard named this country as the second most cloud-ready in the world, behind Japan.
That means now is as good a time as ever for Australian organisations to begin looking at what the cloud can offer them, in terms of improved customer service and internal productivity.
For example, did you know that your SME could stand to benefit by investing in a cloud-ready payment platform?
The benefits of cloud payment services
There are many reasons why you might want to implement a cloud-based payment service in your business, including greater cash flow management, improved reliability and stronger financial security.
Firstly, using a cloud-based payment service is the easiest and most cost-effective way for your organisation to achieve PCI compliance, as it removes much of the responsibility for managing and processing payment card data.Because your customer's personal information is transferred by a reliable, secure service, both they and you can make payments in complete confidence that any sensitive data is being treated with the respect it deserves.
A cloud-based payment service can also improve competitiveness by streamlining your outward facing payment portals. Your consumers will love the improved user-experience and greater efficiency an effective payment platform can offer.
The speed and efficiency of a cloud-based service is also essential for small businesses or established organisations that are launching a new product or service, for whom being the first to market can make a huge financial difference.
Not only that, instead of worrying about whether or not the right systems are in place to process payments, your key decision makers will be able to redirect their efforts towards more valuable initiatives.
And the best part is that utilising a cloud-based payment service doesn't require extensive technical work or a huge initial investment. You can get setup with access to the software-as-a-service, always-on web portal and start collecting revenue in no time at all.
Or, if you're looking for a custom integration to your business management software, you'll be provided with a simple yet rich API tool kit that can be used to cater for a number of critical payment functions.
Whether you're looking to deploy an e-commerce website, cater to direct debit payments, offer Bpay functionality, or a combination of all three, a cloud-based payment solution might just be the perfect solution for your business.