Your small business has a lot of needs. One thing it definitely needs is a cloud computing strategy. Here are some reasons why you can’t overlook this.
Cloud computing has become the norm for most businesses today. With more than 95% of all businesses using either a public, private, or hybrid cloud platform this has transformed the way corporate American conducts business. There are many great reasons why you should consider adopting a cloud computing strategy if you haven’t done so already.
Save Money on IT
The Balance SMB says you no longer have to pay someone (or a group of people) to install and update your computer’s software, email servers, or file servers for you. You also don’t have to pay for them to run backups on all your critical information. With cloud computing, everything that has to do with maintaining your services and applications becomes the cloud vendor’s responsibility – not yours.
Save Money on Software
There’s no longer any need for you to invest in software so you don’t have to worry about installing them or having them installed for you. When you use cloud-based business phone system applications you’ll save time and money here.
Consolidate Your Needs
Some businesses have been able to consolidate the separate applications for their needs into a single, multi-application cloud computing service. One great example of this is Google Apps for Business. It includes:
- A calendar scheduling application
- Google Docs for creating documents, presentations, and forms
- Online file storage
- Google Sites for creating websites
You get all of this for only $5/month for each person on your account. Microsoft’s traditional office application suite is also now available in the cloud via an annual subscription where it’s known as “Office 365.” With it you’ll receive:
- Online video conferencing
- Skype and instant messaging connectivity
- Desktop applications
Infostreet is another cloud computing vendor that provides an affordable suite of cloud applications which include:
- Calendar scheduling
- Conference calling
- File sharing
- An employee directory
Save Money on Hardware
You’ll also be able to scale back your system’s hardware. Things like file storage, data backup, and software programs typically require a lot of space on your computer or server. However, with cloud computing, you’re using someone else’s servers to store all your data which frees up your in-house computer equipment so you can either get rid of some of it or use it for other purposes.
Make Integration Easier
Cloud computing applications make integration easier too. This is because many of them include an Application Programming Interface (API) that lets you find “compatible” applications instead of paying to have the applications you want to be integrated customized for you.
Don’t Worry About Updates
Cloud computing applications are regularly updated. This will save you time and money. It also gives you the advantage of always having access to your applications’ latest features and functions.
Innovate and Experiment
Commercient says migrating to the cloud will also help you innovate, experiment, and create new products and services for your business. The London School of Economics and Political Science conducted a study through which it discovered that “One of the key ways that cloud computing supports operational and technological innovation is by moving an organization more briskly through the experimental or prototyping stages. With traditional IT models, a decision to prototype a new system generally involves the procurement and installation of expensive hardware, with the associated checks and delays that conventional purchasing requires. Cloud provisioning, on the other hand, can be implemented rapidly and at low-cost.” In other words, with the cloud, you can spend much more time developing strategies and products that help your company grow instead of wasting your time maintaining infrastructure and hardware. Addition, since you can quickly deploy cloud software you can help your staff be more productive since they won’t have to wait for installation.
Be More Flexible
Cloud computing also lets you be more flexible both inside and outside the workplace. This is because you can easily access data from any location and at any time as long as you have a web-enabled device. This makes your work hours more flexible for you and your employees since everyone can still collaborate on projects in real-time while they’re on the go. Doing so means more freedom, greater work-life balance, and happier employees.
By moving to the cloud you’ll experience better security, privacy, and control. This is because all the data you and your employees send to the cloud is encrypted. From there it’s hosted in a safe, centralized environment. Now, no matter what happens to your hardware, you’ll still have access to your data since it’s stored in the cloud. For instance, with Commercient’s SYNC app you have a safe environment in which data between ERP and CRM systems are integrated via the cloud. This app makes it easier for you to grant your employees various levels of controlled access to the data that you sync in your CRM system. This is just one of the ways in which the development of a cloud strategy lets you take greater control of your data.
Putting Your SMB Cloud Strategy Together
Insight says the only challenge you’ll face with the cloud is remaining in control of it. This is especially true if only you and your stakeholders subscribe to public cloud apps for improving productivity and customer engagement then only involved your IT when something breaks. Unfortunately, this can result in a whole host of problems, including:
- Security issues when people don’t adhere to your company’s best practices regarding compliance
- Excessive spending if multiple departments buy the same apps
- Getting locked into bad contracts
- Inefficiencies when you don’t properly manage your cloud software resources
This is something that many companies have had to learn the hard way over the years. For instance, in 2016 32% of businesses throughout the world said that a lack of expertise was the biggest challenge they faced when it came to cloud computing. Their next biggest hurdle was security, followed by compliance issues. Some of the other common issues faced by cloud computing included managing multiple cloud services, costs, governance, and performance.