While many businesses are only just looking at the Cloud as a way to reduce their internal IT costs, freelancers have been using hosted software services for some time. Surprisingly, freelancers now make up 12% of the UK workforce and generate 8% of the total private sector financial output.
Most of the popular services used by freelancers are free software applications used for sharing data (although many have a professional, paid-for equivalent). However, as customer demands change, so too will the needs of freelancers – leading them to investigate ever more advanced cloud technologies.
The chance to make use of hosted VoIP or virtual desktop environments will also be of interest to freelancers. The flexibilities offered by a pay-as-you-go computing environment will allow freelance businesses to build and resource temporary teams for single projects, without all the capital expenditure normally associated with such an undertaking.
Larger companies would be well advised to watch the progress of these early adopters, who will be gambling much of their future on these technologies. Because freelancers are not usually cash rich organisations, changes to business practices may be slightly easier to implement, but also carry a much greater risk to the business should anything go wrong.
Businesses of any size can learn lessons about cloud service adoption from freelancers – and with a pool of 1.56 million workers, there are plenty of opportunities to do so!
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