Post by Nick Goode, Head of Sage One.
I was with a bookkeeper the other day, who candidly said, “I’m not a cloud fan. What if something like hurricane Sandy happens?” The disruption caused by the hurricane is devastating and, like me, I’m sure you feel for the thousands of Americans without power and water.
That does mean that they can’t charge their devices so they can’t technically use computers or phones. But if they can get to a place where there is a device connected to the internet, they can keep going.
Any data on their desktop will remain there until the lights come back on. That is of course unless your desktop device is damaged in the storm in which case your data will likely be lost. I trust global leading businesses like Sage and Google with my data more than I trust my own home-based IT system!
With this in mind, how can your business benefit from using online apps instead of the usual desktop office software?
Google Apps for your business
Google Apps are simple to use, online products that are great for all types of organisations, including small businesses or start ups. They’re online, secure, easy to use, affordable and the start-up, sole trader or business can get up and running instantly.
The most popular one is Gmail. You might think this is just for non-work, but it’s not. Over 450m people around the globe use Gmail, but over 5m businesses now use Gmail for their email. It’s really easy to create a Gmail account with the name of your business or your domain name if you have a website; instant, affordable business email.
Google Drive is also extremely useful as it lets you create and collaborate on documents (including spreadsheets and presentations) online, while also backing up any file types you wish to upload. Just start typing!
Google Apps also link into third party applications like CRM and all these are available on the Google Apps marketplace.
Google Apps Marketplace
I think my favourite shiny new internet thing is Google Hangouts. You have to use Google + (Google’s social platform) and a hangout is just that; online video calling between 2 or more people. It’s like Skype but without the need to download an app and it’s accessible from any device connected to the Internet. We’ll be doing some Google Hangouts with customers soon and we’ll let you know how it goes.
From the perspective of your own business, why not try using Google Hangouts to share your latest product with your network, or set up a hangout to show your customers how to get the most out of the service you offer.
Keep your diary in the cloud
Businesses on the move need to know where they should be and when. Google can help with that too; Calendar. It’s web based and it allows people to share calendars, schedule meetings etc. Simple!
Why wait to get started?
When I started a business, I remember going to a retail park and buying software on my credit card. Like many startup business owners, I could ill afford this but at the time there was little alternative. You can get going today with online services like Google Apps and Sage One Accounts for an affordable monthly fee. It makes perfect sense from day one.
Good luck with your business. Let us know if you use Google Apps or other online solutions, and why. It’s good to share ideas and best practice. Look out for our Hangouts coming soon as we’d love you to join us if you use Google Apps in your business.
Already using Google Apps? You can now add Sage One to your Google Apps account. Leave a comment to tell us what you’re using and how it’s helping you to manage your business.