Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 199
substantial cost savings that you can
use in other areas of your business.
Moving to the cloud may also allow
you to get rid of expensive desktop
computers, which in turn allows more
scope for remote working, a much
sought-after employee beneﬁt. Some
companies provide you with all the
beneﬁts of a desktop environment
but in the cloud, and can be accessed
from any location and device.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
Some businesses worry that if they
move to the cloud, their existing
hardware is "wasted". However it
may still be used in conjunction
with the cloud. You can use your
hardware to host any heritage images
or applications that won't be moved
to the new platform. You can also
use it as part of the infrastructure for
backing up and recovering data, so
it still retains value to the business.
FLEXIBILITY AS YOU SCALE
The cloud can help you be more
ﬂexible and eﬃcient because it allows
you to expand or shrink services
quickly as your business evolves.
The same applies to the costs.
Many operators charge you on what is
essentially a pay-as-you-go service, so
you only pay for the capacity you use,
rather than a large ﬁxed cost up front.
WORDS: NILESH PANDEY | ILLUSTRATION: SHUTTERSTOCK
The market regularly changes, as do
your customers' needs. Therefore it's
is the only real concern businesses
will have, so they now oﬀer top
security on their systems.
The cloud allows
you to expand or
quickly as your
important your business operations
are agile enough to keep up.
Whereas this could prove diﬃcult
in the past, the cloud brings this
exact beneﬁt to the table. It's easy
to change and be nimble enough to
keep up with your requirements.
The days of needing bulky archives to
store your data are slowly coming to
an end. Cloud computing allows you
to store everything online, with no
real limits on size. It means you can
access data and ﬁles from anywhere
with an internet connection, and the
same applies to sharing them with
others. Services such as Dropbox allow
you to make changes to documents
and share them without needing
to attach anything to an email.
Of course, there is a slightly
higher risk of data breaches with
the cloud but providers know this
MOST WIDELY USED
THERE IS A CLOUD SERVICE TO SUIT EVERY BUSINESS, BUT THESE
ARE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR AMONG SMART-UPS AND SMES
QUICKBOOKS An online accountancy
HOOTSUITE Allows you to manage
platform that focuses on SME needs.
all your social media marketing efforts
SALESFORCE The daddy of CRM
via one single platform, including the
systems, allowing you to automate lead
ability to schedule posts.
tracking, nurturing and opportunities.
MAILCHIMP The most popular email
EVERNOTE A handy place to store
marketing service for e-commerce
and make sense of all the notes you
businesses, offering useful templates
make during the day.
and strong analytics.
There used to be a time when your
customers and even your own
employees could only contact you
between 9am and 5pm, but this has
all changed. With on-the-go email and
video calling becoming standard parts
of business practice, you are now far
better connected. This is especially
important in today's competitive
landscape - the easier you are to
reach, the better your service levels
are, which strengthens your brand.
It's also possible to do a lot of the
things discussed in one place. For
example, Google's G Suite allows
you to access everything under
one account - whether you need
to connect (email, video calling
and social media), create content
(documents, spreadsheets and slides)
or store your ﬁles (Google Drive).
Business intelligence plays a key
role in how many companies work
- it's the best way to ﬁnd, retain and
analyse your customers. You may
previously have received intelligence
from diﬀerent sources and had to
combine them yourself in a report
format. The cloud, however, gives
you access to dashboards that pull
everything together from all your
applications, as well as breaking
down the hard numbers.
At the most basic level, you only
need to look at the dashboards
provided by social media platforms
or website analytic pages. These
provide in-depth ﬁgures on customers
- whether that's people who make
a purchase, visit your site or simply
interact with you - along with visual
aids such as graphs and pie charts.
A key advantage that cloud
dashboards have over on-premise
software alternatives is that they are
easier to deploy (as they can be built
and accessed on a web browser) and
are available on multiple devices. □