If the Cloud becomes more popular, as is predicted, early adopters are going to have one question; how do we make ourselves stand out?
Industry experts claim the Cloud is the biggest shift to working practice since the introduction of the PC. Those who were first out of the gate have long since been lauding the benefits. It has not only changed how they do business but how they’re able to collaborate and encourage partnership. The Cloud helps to change mind-sets and ambition, as well as impacting the day to day running of the business.
So, the Cloud has helped these early adopters get an upper hand, not just in terms of technology but also strategy. It has helped them to become more streamlined. Even though the industry is set to grow, here are two reasons why they should still be patting themselves on the back.
They’ve been able to cut costs
A return on investment is basically the difference between the money you put in and the money you get out. If it’s in the red then you need to worry and your business isn’t running as well as you’d hope. If it’s in the black you’re sitting pretty and want to explore how you can continue the success. Having a high ROI means you’re capable of being more competitive. Shaving off costs in terms of IT staff and maintenance, heating and power for an in-house server as well as updating technology and programmes means you have more money to spend somewhere else.
For smaller businesses this is particularly significant. Without huge overheads draining their resources they can compete with bigger firms and go for bigger contracts. It makes them leaner, making it easier to take business risks and expand.
Early adopters are able to be more flexible
The flexibility afforded by the Cloud doesn’t just come from having more money to play with. Working in the Cloud promotes creative and flexible working practices. File sharing, being able to access the same information and business data on a range of devices like a mobile, laptop or tablet means you’re no longer tethered to your desk.
Cloud storage or a virtual office means that you can still offer your clients the same level of work wherever you are. It might be in a coffee shop, home office, on a train, in a shared space; wherever you happen to be. It means that a small business doesn’t need to follow the old traditional set-up of hiring an office space and locking yourself into a deal. Instead it means you can grow your business and keep costs cheap. For example, if you chose to adopt hosted email services such as hosted Exchange, it also allows you to offer clients an uninterrupted service; they don’t have to wait for you to respond.
Using Cloud storage also promotes collaboration. You can work with other like-minded individuals wherever they are in the world, just by sharing documents and information with them.
This flexibility makes it easier to grow, to not feel as though you’re being limited by geography but instead can work wherever you want, even if you’re still in your own home.
Yet, with anything, there’s always a ‘but’. If these benefits are suddenly felt by everyone as adoption of the Cloud and Exchange hosting grows and grows, then how can early protagonists still feel like they have the upper hand? They’ve had a head start and have been able to feel their way around the new software and are being adept at weaving it into their own companies and working practices while many of their competitors are dismissing the Cloud as a mere trend. Yes, there will be a day when those not using the Cloud are in the minority but those days are still a year or two off. If early adopters can think of innovative ways to maximize their competitive edge, then by the time the rest of the pack catches up, they’ll be ready to start another sprint.