Small business

Inc. 5000 Leaders Pursue Growth Amid Cloud Adoption Challenges, Oracle Survey Says


Leaders of America’s fastest-growing companies paint an optimistic picture of growth prospects this year, yet many still aren’t optimizing the cloud to aid in that growth, a new survey suggests.

A joint effort by Oracle and Inc. Media, the survey revealed that more than 90 percent of Inc. 5000 leaders plan to expand their workforces this year. Sixty-five percent will enter new markets, while 61 percent will offer new products. Nearly one-third will expand international business.

Nine out of 10 respondents to The Talent and Tech Driving America’s Fastest Growing Companies survey described themselves as “extremely” or “very” confident about their prospects for the future.

The survey was commissioned to “get inside the heads” of Inc. 5000 leaders, finding what makes them tick, what makes them successful, and what they’re planning for 2017, according to Inc. Both current and recent Inc. 5000 honorees were asked to participate.

Cloud Adoption and Challenges

Unsurprisingly, the majority of Inc. 5000 companies have adopted cloud technology. More than 80 percent of survey respondents have at least two functions in the cloud, and 64 percent have three.

Top uses for cloud technology were identified as: large-volume data storage (68 percent), applications (62 percent), sales (51 percent) and databases (48 percent).

However, according to Oracle, answers to several questions reveal that companies aren’t optimizing the cloud’s potential:

  • Forty-four percent said they struggle to achieve integration across cloud products
  • Only 36 percent of respondents have their finances in the cloud
  • Only 29 percent have put their e-commerce functions in the cloud (compared to 51 percent for sales and 62 percent for human resources)

"Rapidly growing small and medium businesses have had the advantage of building on the cloud from day one," Reggie Bradford, senior vice president of Oracle’s Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator, said in a statement. "But their fast growth, paired with the array of cloud solutions from different vendors, presents some challenges.”

Other Notable Survey Findings

For the SMB leaders surveyed, “too much of a good thing” is a real problem. The single biggest obstacle to maintaining growth was effectively managing that growth.

On a lighter note, company leaders were asked what they’d do if an extra $1 million fell into their laps. Nearly half - 46 percent - said they would upgrade and expand the sales team, while 44 percent would expand advertising and marketing efforts.

When asked about the reasons behind their company’s success, the largest percentage of respondents - 41 percent - credited great sales and marketing teams. Popular answers also included the ability to scale and having the right management team in place.