Over a series of articles, our IT specialist Darren from Pivotal Data Solutions will be talking the technicalities of getting your business fully cloud capable. First, we’re going to explore the flexibility that a cloud system brings to small businesses.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by “the cloud”. Moving to the cloud means that we store some or all of our business data on someone else’s servers and access it using an internet connection. A true cloud service enables users to interact with business data using nothing more than a web browser.
The main advantages for any business of a move to the cloud
Mobility – Access your data and work from anywhere you have an internet connection without the need for complex connections and virtual private networks on almost any device.
Flexibility and scalability – You can increase or decrease the number of users on a monthly basis from one to hundreds quickly. This flexibility means you can test a different business model or process for just a few dollars per month without risking huge capital outlays.
Minimal capital cost – No servers or server licenses (which can be more expensive than the server hardware). While this reduces costs, it doesn’t eliminate them completely. You would still be wise to invest in business grade internet connection hardware and licensing (routers, firewalls, wireless access points etc.).
No more “Big Bang” upgrade disruption – In most cases, cloud service providers release small incremental feature upgrades on a regular basis. Users can absorb the changes quickly and take advantage of new features immediately because they are usually demonstrated through short videos or blog posts that get straight to the point.
Why small business now has the advantage
It comes down to two things; Trust and something I will refer to as Capital Momentum.
Trust – Ask yourself who do you trust more: your local professional or a large corporation with no real stake in your local community?
Imagine for a moment your small local provider could deliver a product or service for the same price and at the same quality as the large multinational. I bet you would engage the small local provider every time, because the combination of familiarity, proximity and a sense of community all support a higher degree of trust.
Capital Momentum – Most large corporations have invested millions of dollars in information technology and systems and in many cases changing to a cloud solution requires a hit to both finances and productivity. Compared to large business, small businesses can turn on a dime, and have the agility to make these changes with minimum impact to their operations.
Previously large business with big budgets were able to fix their price points because they had exclusive access to technology and systems. The cloud opens technology up to everyone, meaning small business can offer an even greater service and value to their customers.
Moving to the cloud is not without its challenges, information security and reliability of the internet being the key ones. Internet connection quality and reliability are easily handled by an NBN connection and good quality business grade connection hardware. However, if the move is handled by an expert, the advantages can far outweigh any challenges.