Many have heard of “the cloud” but the concept is still, well, a bit cloudy. The name itself evokes a notion that is closer to science fiction instead of business. This however could not be further from the truth. The Cloud is a generic term that encapsulates a range of technologies that are transforming business, especially for SMEs. The fact is many of us have been using the Cloud for a while without even realising it – such as email, YouTube, Skype, or even online banking (particularly when accessed via a smartphone.)
The Cloud marks a technology driven shift towards the widespread availability of inexpensive, powerful services for companies.
So far, so good, but what does it really mean for SME’s? According to Jason Mitchell, SME’s often face growth pains such as big upfront costs for the implementation of their own dedicated systems. This is definitely something that any entrepreneur is only too aware of. The advantage of adopting a Cloud-based solution is that storage and processing power are now provided by a third-party therefore opening the door to considerable savings as well as access to a growing number of flexible business solutions.
Much more than remote storage
Today, the Cloud has moved beyond its initial service as a storage provider; it has become an umbrella term for services and business applications that provide real-time information and data. From running marketing campaigns to doing payroll, invoicing, expenses and CRM, the Cloud is definitely a viable solution designed to attract SME’s. Take Sage One, for example: this solution integrates a number of accounting and invoicing functions into a simple-to-use application accessible from any Internet-enabled device.
All of a sudden operational costs such as running a dedicated data centre simply disappear or are considerably reduced. No more rack space and endless rows of servers, not to mention the energy costs associated to running a data centre. In addition to that there’s also convenience. For any entrepreneur, the less time is spent doing admin, the better. Cloud technology and the myriad business applications available allow for functions such as automation along with shared workflows and KPIs. The business is literally at your fingertips.
Review here the Cloud Computing FAQs