While some people may argue that cloud computing is relatively new, it has been around for a while. Perhaps, it’s because more businesses today are adopting cloud services. The benefits are evident in the use of cloud for business, especially SMEs. From reduced costs to team agility and efficient IT infrastructure, the opportunities are huge.
It has been speculated that by 2020, the global spend on cloud services will reach $390 billion, with it accounting for 60% of IT market growth. Whether you want to perform tasks as simple as accessing your virtual office or a more complex function such as storing your organisation’s accounting data, you can do it via the cloud.
Brendan, a specialist at one of New Zealand’s cloud computing service providers, OpenHost, says, “Small businesses save money and scale faster when they switch to the cloud because it solves specific daily problems that they encounter.”
It is clear that the obvious that cloud is here to stay, but how can SMBs harness them for quick growth?
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is simply the process of using a network of internet-hosted remote services to store, manage and process data, instead of using a local server or a physical PC. This automatically protects your valuable company data from physical harm such as theft, fire or data corruption.
How can it help SMBs scale?
Quick business implementation
Any business that seeks to stay relevant and competitive in the industry must adapt to new technology systems and the cloud is no exception. Although migrating to new technology traditionally causes some disruption of business activity, the cloud makes it totally worth it.
Cloud services provide faster operations and easier information retrieval processes. Organisations a better able to serve their clients without fear of barriers associated with standard storage systems. Staff can easily access customer details without needing to riffle through tonnes of data. With the cloud, small businesses are able offer more efficient services. They are thus able to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
Promotes cost efficiency
Cloud computing provides a more robust and scalable computing systems. It also minimises IT requirements and physical storage. This means more time is freed up for staff who usually spend time managing the logs instead of attending to core responsibilities. The absence of a physical storage system means a reduction in insurance premiums.
This extra savings can be invested in the business’ capital or used to expand its operations. Furthermore, improved efficiency translates to better services, making it easier to be more competitive. As the business begins to grow, it will experience a significant increase in its customer base. If it’s an online company, a cloud system can easily handle rapid surge in traffic.
Special services for support-operations
Soon, cloud-based plug-ins will be incorporated into support operations of businesses such as finance, marketing and human resources. This will automatically ease the time and effort spent on those operations. This means they can afford to save money and time.
Already, cloud services have eliminated the need for taking regular logs and spending precious time on troubleshooting activities. Whenever a new software is introduced, all that is needed is an automatic update which doesn’t interfere with regular activities because they can run concurrently. Another advantage is that each cloud-based plug-in can be accessed remotely from any device.
Seamless collaboration and no-time constraint
Cloud technology facilitates ease-of-use. When all company data and information is available on the cloud, any employee can access it as long as they have authorisation to. This increases the opportunity for formation of agile teams because they can work faster and be more productive.
Another advantage of agile teams is that they reduce cost due to efficiency. Cloud-based companies can afford to reduce their prices and be more competitive in their niche. It also eliminates time-constraint and gives rise to maximum growth. Startups need collaborative environments to grow and cloud services make this possible.
Secure data backup
If you don’t have the time or resources to execute a strategy for data backup, or if our data is backed up onsite, you can store them on-site. Cloud services help your retrieve the latest versions of your data in the event that a system failure occurs or a natural disaster such as flood or a fire.
Depending on the nature of your business, you could choose to back up data frequently to a secure offline location. If anything happens, you can easily run backup services and be operating in minutes. Some service providers offer geo-backup services where your data is saved in multiple servers across different locations. This way you don’t lose customers from a temporary downtime.
Due to the scalable nature of cloud resources, you can increase the capacity to sustain growth and run efficiently in busy periods. One of the difficult aspects of running a small company is envisaging the resources your business will require- so that it is just sufficient to scale and leverage opportunities without overspending.
When your business runs on cloud services, you don’t have to predict your needs. Instead, you react to them as they arise and use only what is necessary to manage growth and improve efficiency. For instance, if a customer or project, requires more collaboration, you can easily access certain collaboration tools without having to plan for it. In order words, cloud computing increases your business’ flexibility.
Eased resource management
Every business has its core operations. Having data backed online and in a different location, allows employees focus solely on their primary functions. For example, if you run a shoe retail company, outsourcing your data processes to a cloud service provider gives your team more time to brainstorm new online sales ideas.
You will also be provided with a more secure option for your customers’ personal data, including email address and credit card details. This is because cloud services come with an encryption key that prevents malicious third-parties from retrieving precious consumer data. This way, you grow your security and attract more customers.
If your business is yet to switch to cloud, you should consider it. There’s so much to gain.