In order to stay relevant and competitive in today’s highly saturated business environment, it’s become critical for enterprises to be tech-savvy. More and more companies are moving towards digitalization and automation, with innovative technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, being integrated into business processes at a wider scale. One such technology that has improved productivity on the small business landscape is cloud computing.
While the adoption of cloud-based platforms was just an option for companies a few years ago – now it’s become a necessity. And, we’re not just talking about large companies – and increasing number of SMEs are now using cloud-based ERP solutions, such as Intuit’s QuickBooks software, to boost their operational efficiencies and gain a competitive edge. In fact, a survey conducted by RightScale revealed that 93% of organizations are now utilizing some type of cloud technology.
If you haven’t moved your small business to cloud yet, over the course of this blog we’ll discuss some major reasons why you should.
Cloud Computing Increases the Agility Flexibility of an SME
Moving to a cloud-based platform is ideal for businesses whose bandwidth demands are constantly fluctuating or growing. Drawing on the remote servers of your cloud service, the cloud capacity can be easily scaled up if the needs of your enterprise increase. Likewise, cloud services also provide the flexibility you need to scale down.
Cloud computing can significantly increase the operational agility of your business, thereby giving you a real competitive advantage. In fact, a Gartner study revealed that enhanced operational agility is one of the leading factors which drive IT directors and CIOs towards cloud adoption.
You Don’t Have to Worry About Disaster Recovery & Data Back-Up
A solid disaster recovery solution should be one of the top priorities for business of all sizes. However, SMEs often lack the required resources and the expertise, which makes this more of an ideal rather than a reality. However, cloud computing is now enabling SMEs to buck this trend.
A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group revealed that SMEs are now twice as likely as larger organizations to have cloud-based data recovery and back-up protocols in place. Such solutions save time and don’t require a large upfront outlay. Furthermore, businesses also get third-party expertise and support as part of the deal.
Automatic Software Updates
The real beauty of cloud services is the servers are located off-site, which means you don’t have to concern yourself about taking care of them. They’ll be taken care of by your service provider who’ll also handle all the software updates (including security). Eliminating server maintenance and software updates from your list of things to do will leave you with time to focus on the other important aspects of your enterprise.
No Large Investment Required (Pay As You Go)
Another great advantage of utilizing cloud services is that they don’t require you to make a large outlay on hardware. Cloud hosting services have a subscription-based pricing model. You just pay as you go, which is a lot easier on your enterprise’s cash flow.
Combine these flexible pricing options with ease of management and set up and suddenly your intimidating IT project become a lot friendlier. It’s now become easier than ever to move to cloud-based platforms.
Makes Your Company Mobile Employee-Friendlier
When your business is cloud-enabled, all your employees need to be at work is a broadband connection. Furthermore, with an increasing number of cloud hosting service providers offering mobile apps with their platforms, you’re not limited by the type of device you have as well.
This enables businesses to offer more flexibility in terms of working hours to their employees. This is important as an increasing percentage of the American workforce is prioritizing jobs that offer flexible working hours. According to Gallup, work-from-home opportunities and flexible working hours play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.
Allows for Better Collaboration
When your staff has the ability to access your company’s data and applications from anywhere at any time, it allows them to be more productive and efficient. A cloud-hosted platform allows different members of your teams to access and work on the same files, at the same time, with updates being applied in real-time. This allows your team to have a clear view of their collaboration. Instead of waiting for the bi-annual business meetings to share old information and feedback, cloud computing allows personnel from the different departments to be in sync with each other at all times.
A cloud platform also results in improved company-client collaborations. All the feedback and personal information your sales team receives from a client is put up on the cloud, where it’s accessible to all personnel of your organization. This transparency leads to subsequent client interactions being smoother. This is bound to improve your business’s service quality, which will lead to improved customer loyalty.
Streamlined Document Management
As the number of partner and employees collaborating on documents grows, the need for an efficient document control system increases as well. Before cloud computing took off in the business world, files were sent back and forth by employees in the form of email attachments. Only a single user could work on a file at a time, which often led to a tangle of conflicting file formats, content and titles.
These days, even the smallest of enterprises are spread out over a wide network of locations, which increases the potential of document management complications. According to Microsoft, 73% of knowledge workers have reported the need to collaborate with people who are in different time zones at least once a month.
Cloud computing goes a long way in streamlining the management of documents. A cloud-based platform centralizes the storage of files and everyone within the business has just once source of information. This improves visibility and transparency which ultimately leads to better collaboration and a healthier workflow.
A cloud-based platform essentially puts everyone in an organization on the same page. When the systems within your organization are unified and the operations streamlined, it allows you to standardize your business processes. When your employees, who are spread out over a large network of locations, have access to the same information and are working on the same platform, it naturally becomes easier for them to follow the same processes.
Your cloud solution will allow you to easily trace all your business processes right from the point they originate to the point they conclude. For instance, you can track a customer-focused process as it starts in sales, goes through operations and fulfillment, goes through finance and finally reaches you, the manager.
The bottom line is cloud computing simplifies process which frees up time and resources that can be focused on generating new ideas and devising growth strategies.
Many business owners who are evaluating cloud adoption perceive it to be lacking security wise. This is mostly those who aren’t very tech savvy, and prefer to have their data stored within their premises.
The fact of the matter is that on-premise systems aren’t nearly as secure as you think. With such systems, all your business data is stored at a single physical location, and you have to consider a number of security issues. You can lose valuable business data if the server fails, if a fire breaks out, if there’s a natural disaster and if a malicious entity gains unauthorized access to it. You’re also responsible for ensuring your data is being backed up.
Furthermore, when all the business data is stored on premises, employees only have email as a medium of sharing files. As we’ve previously discussed, this causes a whole host of compatibility difficulties and time delays. All in all, it hurts collaboration and the efficiency of operations.
And last but not the least, there’s the issue of downloading business data and storing it on laptops and PC. If these devices get misplaced or stolen, you lose business data as well.
A cloud-based solution eliminates all these security headaches. With a cloud service, you hosting provider is in charge of protecting your data, which is stored in highly secure off-site servers. There are a number of stringent security measures in place such as a multi-level authentication process, anti-malware, firewall and encryption. Moreover, hosting service providers also have disaster recovery and data backup protocols set up so you can easily retrieve restore your data in case it’s lost.
Being an Intuit authorized QuickBooks hosting provider, gotomyerp promises unparalleled security, constant support and exemplary service uptime. Get in touch with us if you’re seeking top-notch QuickBooks hosting migration or implementation services.