It’s been called the ‘biggest paradigm shifts in 20 years’ and a ‘game changer’. It’s discussed across online platforms and traditional media on a constant basis. It’s enough to give those not au fait with technology – particularly small businesses – the complete and utter willies.
But ‘The Cloud’ and cloud technology shouldn’t be seen as a fearsome beast. On the contrary. It can take business processes, especially for small businesses, to a whole new level of performance and success.
Just think. Over the years we have considered certain concepts a futuristic fantasy. Remember when we first had email? And we answered them within the week. Or when we had a look at Facebook – on the odd occasion – to see what-all-the-fuss-was-about?
Life has changed. And the speed of technological developments has meant that there are new, dynamic ways of operating a business that have added an immediacy we never quite imagined in those early days of technological connectivity.
Truthfully, it’s not just business that has been affected – it’s life in general. Our lives are more mobile, our outlook global, even for those who believe themselves to be less technologically savvy. If you are still in the working world, it’s virtually impossible not to have been affected by the connected world.
But, back to business: Technology has given us many things – and, in amongst that, it has given us freedom. We can work remotely, collaborate nationally and globally, have more immediate communication with our customers, we can react at speed.
Now add to that ‘The Cloud’. It is certainly more than just a buzzword. For small businesses in particular, cloud is certainly more than just ‘a trend’.
Let me paint you a quick picture. Here’s a Small Business, its business model looks promising, demand is building. During the day, Small Business owner is flat-stick, coping with new business. At night, he or she is keying in data, paying invoices, dealing with staffing issues, cross-referencing bank transactions and reconciling data across multiple files. All before preparing for the next day’s business.
Cloud accounting is changing all that. Cloud accounting solutions mean anywhere, anytime, on any device, with a level of efficiency and cost effectiveness that is quite simply astounding.
With cloud accounting solutions the small business owner can now:
- store unlimited amounts of data, meaning the infrastructure it needs to acquire is minimal;
- enjoy constantly updated software so he or she will always be utilising the most up-to-date capability;
- have a high level of security to ensure their data – and that of their clients – is safe, backed up, and be able to take advantage of infrantructure that helps minimise the risk of data corruption or loss. Most small businesses wouldn’t have safety and security measures, or often infrastructure, to that level;
- cross-reference data across their business so there’s no unnecessary rekeying of information – valuable time that should be spent building the business;
- see reporting results on a daily basis so they always know how the business is performing and can make changes as and when they need to;
- access it anywhere, anytime from any device. That’s a level of flexibility that’s literally worth its weight in new business.
One of the biggest misgivings, in fact, is that cloud technology for businesses is new. It’s not. Most of us have been using ‘The Cloud’ for some time – with Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, YouTube and an ever-extending list of online platforms. We’ve been connecting, sharing information and data, using it for storage. We just may not call it ‘The Cloud’ or think of its broader implications.
Realistically, dismissing the Cloud as not relevant could find a small business left behind;
- missed opportunity for lower business costs
- missed opportunity of a higher and more consistent level of client servicing
- missed opportunity to provide a higher and more consistent level of reporting.
Ultimately, if there are any ‘buzzwords’, they should be ‘embracing change’. Embracing the advancement and growth of technology in a way that works for your business – improving efficiencies, mobility and productivity. Working with it, not against it – and getting the right support services to work with you do that – is what will collectively move us forward.
Read our blog post “Choosing between desktop, hosted and cloud” >