Has anyone ever told you that you’ve got your head-in-the-clouds? If they have, you can take it as a compliment on your business acumen.
That’s because over the last several years the smartest and savviest entrepreneurs, from all different business sectors, have embraced the power of cloud computing.
As it enables dramatic improvements and adds new useful functionality to virtually every aspect of a business.
With its main benefits being:
- Cost saving - massively reduces the need for on-site specialist technicians, experts and infrastructure. As these come as part of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
- Time saving - automation of tasks and project scheduling, planning and delegation frees up staff from lengthy admin.
- Increased Agility - shareable and accessible documents allow for flexible collaboration and between team-members, external talent and resources anywhere, anytime.
In fact, an IBD survey found that cloud computing has been adopted by 92% of business organisations.
So if cloud computing still sounds like some kind of technology themed Disney film to you, then I am afraid it’s time to wise up. As you’re missing out on a potentially transformative tool that could supercharge your productivity and profitability.
Cloud computing is not the future of technology. It is the current and most essential technology. And it’s here to stay.
Whether you're a seasoned techpreneur, or a brick-n-mortar purist, from this article you’ll gain vital insights on what cloud computing can do for your business.
What is cloud computing?
Things have moved on quite a bit since the first computer was invented. Which was the original masterwork of English Polymath, Charles Babbage.
Designed in between 1847 and 1849. Known as Difference Engine No. 2, it was only brought to life by the UK's Science Museum in 1991.
It required a build time of six years and tipped the scales at approximately five tons. In terms of dimensions, it stands at 2.1 metres by 3.4 metres by 0.5 metres. And most astonishingly, it actually works!
Over the last hundred and fifty years they’ve worked wonders on the weight. Managing to get it right down to zero grams. As cloud-based computing applications aren’t really physical products (as delivered to the client). They’re software applications or computer programs that are hosted on a remote server.
Meaning you don’t install and maintain cloud computing products on your own hard-drive. They are stored on an external hard-drive, usually owned or controlled by the software provider. You simply access the software online, remotely.
Also, all of the data and work you create with one of these apps is stored within their cloud-based remote server. Unless you choose/can download it.
It’s not as unfamiliar as you might think. If you use a social media platform, like Facebook, then you are already using a cloud-based computing application.
Some other common examples include Google Doc, Outlook Online, Skype, Whatsapp. And examples of popular and useful cloud computing services for business are Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Hubspot, Slack. And of course Crunch: )
The valuable benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing isn't just a buzzword; it's a cornerstone of modern business operations, offering a variety of advantages especially relevant to startups and small businesses. Here's how:
One of the most immediate benefits is financial savings. With cloud computing, there's no need to invest in expensive hardware or specialised personnel to maintain it. Most services offer pay-as-you-go models, allowing you to scale your costs with your business needs. This is particularly advantageous for startups operating on tight budgets, when the cost of infrastructure and management is high.
In this report by Insight UK, 79% of respondents reported that they experienced an average cost saving of 20%, as a result of using cloud computing.
Speed and agility are the names of the game. And systems based in the cloud have the capability to handle data with a performance rate that's up to 60% greater than conventional data centres.
In addition, automated workflows, data analytics, and other cloud-based tools can significantly reduce time-consuming admin work. This freed-up time allows your team to focus on strategic activities that directly contribute to business growth.
Cloud solutions often come with customer relationship management (CRM) tools that can dramatically improve your customer service. Features like automated responses, ticket tracking, and customer analytics can offer valuable insights and quicken response times, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.
When surveyed, 40% of key decision-makers said that a primary aim of digital adoption was to improve customer experience.
Cloud computing provides the infrastructure for scalable growth. You can readily expand your services, enter new markets, and adapt to changing business conditions, all without the weight of maintaining physical servers or additional software.
This means it’s far easier to take advantage of fresh and timely opportunities that emerge as your business expands.
Nearly half of IT leaders, at 49%, have indicated that the primary benefit of cloud computing lies in its ability to shorten the timeline for business projects.
Collaboration and Mobility
Cloud services make it easy to collaborate in real-time with team members across different locations. This makes project management streamlined and efficient, which is crucial for startups and businesses that rely on agility and quick decision-making.
It allows SMEs to overcome the limitations of the physical office and empower their employees to work from anywhere. Which helps make your business more resilient and better connected.
This is especially important, considering that 98% of working professionals intend on working either fully or hybrid-remote.
Compliance and Security
Many cloud services come with built-in security protocols and are compliant with legal regulations, offering you peace of mind in terms of data protection. These platforms often feature multi-layer encryption, secure access controls, and regular security audits to ensure the highest levels of safety for your sensitive data.
Additionally, they frequently update their security measures to counter new threats, and some even offer compliance certifications, giving you added assurance that your data is handled with the utmost care and integrity.
By embracing cloud computing, you're not just adopting a technology; you're making a strategic choice that can improve virtually every facet of your business, from customer service and business development.
All of these benefits greatly serve to reduce cost and time in various ways. Mainly by vastly cutting the reliance on in-house resources.
Don’t let the cloud float by
Software is more than just a tool; it's a strategic ally capable of propelling your business towards its objectives. Regardless of your industry—be it a hair salon, a dental practice, a pole-dancing studio, a construction firm, or a web development agency—there's a cloud-based service designed to meet your specific needs.
Beyond just upgrading various systems and activities, cloud computing can dramatically cut down your overall operating expenses and boost efficiency in multiple facets of your business.
So, if you haven't yet, it's high time to seize the benefits of cloud computing and elevate your business to new heights.