Businesses with software and data in the cloud have had a distinct advantage during the COVID crisis: They already had access to files from anywhere, could share information and communicate more easily with staff, and could set up a plan for employees to work from home much more quickly.
If your business wasn’t in the cloud before COVID, you’ve probably learned all this the hard way. Maybe you wanted to make the switch before, but were concerned about safety, cost or the time needed to make the transition . . . and then the coronavirus got in the way.
The good news is, it’s still not too late. Here are
1. Cost savings
Cost is one reason why many small businesses shy away from the cloud, fearing that they can’t afford it (especially now, when many businesses are feeling the COVID financial pinch). However, many systems and services are offered in a pay-as-you-go or ‘buffet’ model, so you can select and pay only for the pieces you need. Add that to the fact that you don’t have to buy hardware or quickly outdated software and you’ll experience significant cost savings over time.
2. Easier collaboration
Cloud computing enables employees who are working from home (or in a wide variety of locations) to collaborate more easily. Having documents and reports that are updated in real time improves efficiencies, too. Even if you don’t have staff working at home full-time, it’s a great advantage to be able to provide access, check email, get updates and view documents from your phone or tablet.
3. Improved IT maintenance
Maintaining and updating software is time-consuming. Having cloud-based software eliminates the hassle of ongoing upgrades, patches and fixes, because updates are automatically included and regularly installed. You’ll free up your IT staff so they can focus on other things (like strategic planning) and have peace of mind knowing that you always have the latest software versions and security updates, which brings us to . . .
Many business owners are worried about moving to the cloud because of data safety risks. In the early days of the cloud, this was a concern, but today cloud providers can actually provide higher levels of protection because with huge economies of scale, they can employ specialised staff who are focused solely on this issue and thereby offer enhanced levels of protection to all customers.
Last but not least is the issue of time. Many businesses fear the amount of down-time it would take to switch their company over to a new system and train their staff on how to use it. While it’s true that designing, installing and configuring a custom, enterprise-level cloud system can take months, there are a number of ‘out-of-the-box’ systems – such as our Wine One for wineries – that are extremely user-friendly, have all the necessary elements ready to go in just a few weeks, and can be further customised and fine-tuned to meet your needs.
At Solutions+, we have experience working with a wide variety of industries across South Australia and have helped many SMEs set up powerful, affordable cloud-based systems. If you need advice on which cloud-based system is right for your business, please contact us.