Sweden today is the home of the most innovative start-ups with 6.3 billion-dollar tech companies per million people. Moreover, it has attracted more VC relative to its economic size than any of its European neighbours over the past five years. Sweden has actually taken in almost a fifth of all venture capital invested in the EU in the first three quarters of 2012 (European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, 2012), period when the equity market in Europe rose for the first time after the 2008 Financial crisis (FC).
Sweden is not only a home market of many Swedish start-ups, but it is the perfect test market for many entrepreneurs and investors. Its tech-savvy, Facebook-obsessed population and sleek design sense together with its roots in engineering make Sweden the hottest spot for investors hunting the next big thing. Additionally, Sweden is a country known for its early adoption of new technology, both on individual and business level. Technologies enabling the digital transformation of companies are big nowadays in Sweden among which cloud computing has taken a focal point.
From one side cloud technologies have initiated new wave of entrepreneurs who have created innovative services and products like the well-known Spotify, KLARNA, eBuilder, and CityCloud among many others. However, I am more interested in how the cloud technologies are being used for delivering services and products in a more competitive way. Moreover how cloud technologies are enabling global collaboration, sharing of knowledge and information between team members across borders. This is a particularly important for start-ups and SMEs.
“Startups of today have a clear advantage in using cloud computing – getting started in no-time with low cost. Compared to when we first started, having to make investments in IT, loosing a lot of time to market”
Lately cloud office systems have created a new collaborative environment which has spread worldwide across regions and time zones. This has addressed challenges on the job market both on the demand and supply side matching people with the right qualifications to regions with skills shortages. Given the challenges of the small domestic market of Sweden, comes as no surprise that Sweden has created 23 thousand cloud enabled jobs in 2015. On more broad scale, Gartner predicts that cloud office systems, whose usage is constantly increasing, will account for 33% of the overall office market by 2017.
Benefits from the cloud technologies
The scalable pricing models which do not require huge start-up investments or extensive tech knowledge lowering the entry-barriers for SMEs;
Cost-efficient and flexible alternative in contrast to buying and managing the whole hardware and software infrastructure for IT;
Less need for external financing, making bootsstrapping the new way for creating self-supported profitable business;
Improved project management, better workflow and better management of invoicing;
Employees and partners have immediate access to critical business information and documents when they need it;
Research on the Cloud Maturity Index (Radar and Tieto, 2015) in the Nordic region found that cloud mature organizations have 34 percent lower costs for IT operations compared with other organizations. However, there are some differences in the Scandinavian region regarding level of cloud maturity and reasons for using the cloud technologies. Namely, majority of the companies in Finland have higher cloud maturity, while Swedish ones are in the lead for strategic adoption of cloud technologies.
Nevertheless, 72 percent of cloud mature organizations across the Nordic region reported a positive impact on innovation from using cloud services. In Sweden companies mostly use cloud computing for e-mails, storage of files, hosting the enterprise’s databases, office software, financing or accounting software applications and CRM software applications (Eurostat Statistics, 2015).
Next we tackle cloud accounting which has not been exploited enough despite its vast benefits from accessibility to streamlined efficiencies and cost savings. More about it in my next article.