Mobile and flexible working, not cost, are the main reasons for UK SMEs moving to the cloud, according to YouGov research.

Lower cost is no longer the major reason for adopting the cloud for SMEs, with them instead focusing on improving business outcomes and bringing strategic value, says the research.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of the 530 UK SME senior managers surveyed had either already implemented cloud services or anticipated they would do so in the future, with 30 percent looking to do so within the next two years.

The increased ability for employees to work with greater mobility and flexibility was identified as the most popular reason to implement cloud services (39 percent), with cost efficiencies named as the second most popular reason (33 percent).

Of those who had not yet moved towards the cloud, the main reason given for the delay was "lack of time" (38 percent). With smaller, over-stretched IT departments, respondents felt unable to devote sufficient time to fully investigate the technical and business implications of moving to a cloud-based work model.

The survey was sponsored by IBM, which predicts that by 2015 there will be one trillion cloud-ready devices globally.Simon Porter, vice president for mid market sales at IBM, said: "Businesses are beginning to realise that the full potential of cloud goes far beyond a cost-focused ROI model.

"They are also increasingly looking at how the cloud can help expedite the move to a more mobile way of working for their employees, using smartphone and tablets to access key applications while creating a more flexible work/life balance."

Earlier this month, research carried out by IDG Research Services among European firms employing over 250 found they plan to spend almost one-third of their annual IT budget on cloud computing over the next 18 months.