Some 82pc of Irish companies employing less than 20 people are opting for business applications they can source and download from the internet.
A survey of 112 Irish businesses by Loudhouse Research found that more than half of the firms are doing so because of the cost benefits and flexibility to change provider as they wish.
The survey, commissioned by SME software player Mamut, found that the most commonly used web-based application by small Irish businesses is email (59pc), possibly because many online email services like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are free.
However, 85pc say they would prefer to purchase and use locally installed email as opposed to web-based services.
The No 1 reason identified for preventing small businesses using web-hosted applications is security, with 67pc concerned about business-critical information being vulnerable to online attack or disruption.
Those that actually used online services were half as likely to be concerned about the loss of company information, suggesting the experience brought reassurance.
Alan Moody, managing director of Mamut in Ireland, said Irish businesses were showing a willingness to put more trust in web-based applications.
“Broadband is a key enabler in this but network stability is a crucial issue for firms that want to source applications on the web.
“The proliferation in web-based devices whether they are mobile phones or laptops means businesspeople are open to a more flexible way of delivering traditional services and that’s why software as a service (SaaS) is popular right now.
“Part of the flexibility they enjoy is being able to retrieve the right information at the right time such as getting sales figures on their mobile phones,” Moody said.
Across Europe some 325,000 small businesses have adopted Mamut’s internet-based business platform, Moody explained, including 60,000 small businesses in Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands.
“We’re building a bigger and carefully selected presence through strategic alliances with local resellers,” Moody added.
By John Kennedy