Work harder, work faster, with a cheaper infrastructure; business has been waxing lyrical about the benefits they see from the Cloud. The bonuses they might not have seen coming are those stemming from a new way of working, however, they run much deeper than simply the bottom line. Is the biggest benefit from the Cloud that it helps small business to grow?
Who isn’t looking for growth right now? For five years small business owners have complained of a stagnation in terms of borrowing, of finding it hard to expand, to effectively weigh up the benefits of bringing in new staff or offering new services. The Cloud promises many things; can it really be the answer SMEs are looking for?
Cost-cutting probably isn’t the best term to use to describe what the Cloud does. If a small company does not want to invest in IT infrastructure, or cannot afford dedicated IT staff, then cloud computing presents a real alternative. Exchange hosting, say, can allow them to utilise what’s known as SaaS, or Software as a Service, relying on the infrastructure of an external Cloud provider. They can mix and match the services and application they will need. They pay for what they use. A better term is probably to say cost-effective.
So what does that do for growth? To answer that, consider what a small business might do with the extra time and extra cash given to them by freeing up space and a reliance on internal resources.
A Cloud provider ensures the business is up to date with the latest technology. No need for consultants to come in and work on a job by job basis. The small business can therefore offer their clients the most up to date service they can. It also promises increased flexibility. One of the benefits of Hosted Exchange means staff can access their email remotely, either working from home or on the move. Overheads, potentially can be reduced and by working remotely staff have more time to work on projects. It can increase productivity.
Relying on an external Cloud provider means there’s less risk of downtime caused by technology updates or crashes. Ensuring a provider has the proper structure in place to create a stable Cloud environment that’s reliable and secure means the headaches of money and time being lost by an IT failure are minimised.
More time can also mean more innovation. Remove the restriction from having staff worry about day to day services and you provide an opportunity for strategy development, staff training, new business opportunities or income strands. Staff aren’t tied to one way of working or by making sure IT is maintained and being upgraded. You have more control over defining the business you want, and more time and space to make it a reality.
The Cloud can help small businesses cut costs. It can also make them more efficient making time savings as well as budgetary ones. What would you do with your business if you have more time and more money?