“The cloud” has been enshrined as one of the most important concepts of computing in the last decade – a model for enabling ubiquitous network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. This structure allows partners with limited ability to invest in the construction of full data centres and extensive network systems to access the benefits often previously afforded only to large corporations with tremendous technological capital.
According to cloud-computing provider Exact, users of online business software in the small business sector are seeing significant advantages in their cost-savings and productivity. Exact’s research found that revenue growth increased by 25 percent and profits more than doubled compared to businesses that did not use the cloud.
Businesses identified security as the biggest reason for joining the Cloud, although participants also aimed to reduce technology and maintenance costs while easing mobile access to critical information. Other improvements that businesses cited included faster turnaround times for orders and RFPs, and more streamlined provision of customer service solutions.
Every small business has different needs, and cloud computing has evolved with scalability in mind. Small businesses could begin migrating to the cloud in ways as simple as signing up for Office 365 instead of purchasing a copy of the software for each of your work computers. Cloud-based collaboration tools also facilitate better project management and better workflow – at Merchant Advance, for example, we use the inexpensive cloud-based organizational tool Asana to manage tasks at a range of priority levels. Cloud solutions allow your business to get exceptional value for computing services as well as being able to avoid paying for what you don’t need.
Finally, consider the increasing importance of data to the successful small business. Highly granular data collection will provide the hard evidence that your small business needs to change its policies or adopt new ones. It can help contextualize important decisions. Cloud computing is expertly designed to allow the collection and interpretation of such data, as well as to compare your metrics to a broader context.