Over the last 5 or so years the cloud computing has gone from being the new frontier to a common business practice. Everything from internet banking to sourcing your favorite recipe is now “on the cloud”.
So the question is why has this occurred and what does it mean for your business?
Firstly, lets define what cloud computing actually is. In short cloud computing is the use of other providers to provide your computing needs online for a monthly fee as opposed to owning your own computers and maintaining them.
The use of cloud computing has a number of advantages compared to the old “computer under the desk” model that brings a number of efficiencies and cost savings to your business. Here’s 5 advantages that you should consider:
The #1 question used to be about the security of the data. This question has almost disappeared from the cloud discussions these days. The cloud service providers have some of the most sophisticated securities available that rank or even exceed those used by the banks themselves. Most providers use multiple locations and backups to store your data and then multiple levels of security to ensure that it can’t be hacked.
Compare that to your own system at present and ask yourself these questions:
- How many backups do you keep?
- Are the backups stored off site?
- What security are you using to keep your data safe?
- Are you sure that what you are using is the best and most secure option?
With the access to cloud computing comes a myriad of options to help make your business more efficient. In the Xero eco-system alone there are over 500 different add-ons that can be added to your system to help automate, integrate or just eliminate processes to make your business more efficient.
These ‘Add-ons’ are programs that usually specialise in one area (e.g. Point of Sale, Inventory management etc) that can be added and integrated with your accounting system. Since there are usually various options available in each category you can choose the addon that best suits your business. For example a Point of Sale system for a wholesaler will be different to one for the local café.
These options allow you to build an integrated solution tailored to your business needs without the huge upfront cost.
Addons are priced on a subscription basis. No longer are you required to fork out thousands of dollars upfront for a software (or hardware) solution to only find out you need to keep a fee to get the latest upgrades each year. You can pay out the monthly fee and, if after a while you find it doesn’t suit your business then you unsubscribe and go and subscribe to the latest addon that works best for your business. This provides lower costs and provides more flexibility when it comes to selecting the correct solution for your business.
How often do you see small business owners who haven’t taken a break from their business for 10+ years as they can’t leave it? As long as you have an internet connection you can now run your business from anywhere in the world without the need to log in to the old computer sitting under your desk at the office.
Imagine waking up on the other side of the world, check and respond to your emails, pay the wages and suppliers for the day then head off to the beach or the local attractions.
Whilst that sounds good for the break the mobility also allows you to be able to run your business on the road. No longer do you have to wait to get back to the office to do the paperwork when you can prepare invoices, send emails and take payments on the road by using relevant addons that have been developed for your type of business.
5. Current technology
The use of Addons means that they are updated automatically as part of the service. No longer are you waiting for the latest major releases to be come out as they are released as soon as they are available and tested.
It also means that you no longer have to keep using the version of software that was released 5 years ago meaning it will be more likely to run more efficiently and will provide you with the latest improvements and efficiencies to help run your business.
Cloud computing can provide a whole range of cost and efficiency savings for a small business provided the correct solutions are selected and integrated with each other.
For help developing a cloud solution for your business contact one of the Poole Group Cloud specialists to help create a more efficient business process and system.