Have you ever downloaded a heap of task management apps such as Asana and Trello? How about time management apps like RescueTime? Have you downloaded a heap of “productivity” software that tries to help you manage your workload…?
But in the end, left feeling even more behind since those “helpful” apps needed just as much maintenance?
Anytime you’re on social media, using your phone to check your bank balance, you’re using the cloud. This is on a regular basis and has nothing to do with businesses.
To put it simply, “cloud computing” means you’re using the internet to compute. Instead of saving your work and relying on emails… the Cloud (and various companies) lets you collaborate more efficiently.
How? By utilising real time collaboration. Whenever a team member makes a change to a document, file, or project, you can see it happening. This is just one example out of many to explain why the cloud kicks a lot of butt.
So, why on Earth would a business – large or small – move to cloud in the first place? Let’s take a quick look on why you should do all your business on the cloud.
- Cost Effective
Now you can put away IT teams and whoever installs and updates your software, runs back ups, manages files and servers, etc. The real beauty of the cloud is that all of this can be done online. This will leave you with more time to get down to business and focus on what matters: getting work done.
The time saved AND the money saved because of the cloud is just one reason (out of many, I assure you) to think about the cloud.
Another reason is not having to purchase your own servers. It’s all on the cloud. Most cloud providers offer you “pay as you go” packages. Others require you to pay based on the amount of storage space you use. Still, you’re paying for what you use and getting rid of the baggage. Win.
- Get Products to Customers Faster
Cloud Computing is referred usually as a stack, or a pile of a broad range of facilities piling on top of each other under the name “cloud”.
In reality, the cloud is a “stack”. Meaning that it is a service that’s entirely self-serviced. The cloud is made up of three such services:
- PaaS (Platform-As-A-Service)
- SaaS (Software-As-A-Service)
- IaaS (Infrastructure-As-A-Service)
What this means, in a nutshell, is you’re able to access these cloud services on varied platforms- Mobile phones, Desktop, Laptop, etc. Wherever you are, these services are available to you to implement. More importantly, these resources can be shared across many well-paying customers.
Just what are these three stacks? Well, to put it simply: look around.
IaaS deals with firewalls, IP addresses, local area networks (virtual), etc. Such as Google’s Compute Engine and Windows Azure.
SaaS refers to software that provides a service, such as Trello, Google Drive, or Dropbox. In fact, many people claim that SaaS is the future in online marketing. It’s definitely worth considering.
PaaS, to be blunt, refers to computing platforms that include databases, OS, language execution, etc. Look to Heroku, Google App Engine, and Apache Stratos for prime examples.
- More Efficient Collaboration
Because the cloud is online, team members don’t have to rely on email that never gets read – or racing all the way across the office, or picking up and dialing. Cloud-based workflow software and file sharing apps (such as Google Drive, DropBox, and Asana) are wonderful tools that let team members collaborate – in real time. No more having to wait for responses: communication is instant.
Bonus: Asana is a project management piece of SaaS that lets teams work on specific tasks for projects – at once. It’s a “virtual to-do list” worth considering for professionals.
FINALLY, No more making multiple copies of documents and emailing them to everybody.
According to the Aberdeen Group, small businesses are more than twice as likely to mid-to-large enterprises to set up their entire business on the cloud. And for good reason! Along with the other reasons that have been mentioned so far, the cloud is particularly ideal for small start-ups who “don’t have a leg up in the race” yet.
What does this mean for those small businesses? It means that there’s an affordable solution for hosting content, relaying that content between team members, and “keeping productivity in check.”
Also, when companies are “winners”, their customers feel like winners too. Not forgetting about those initial customers is key to success, as the Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) only upgrades your business profits over time. That’s why Google Sheets (similar to Excel, except G-sheets are online) are phenomenal for keeping track of your customers, their payments, and the like. Estimating the LCV customers is easy, as Hubspot points out.
Clearly every business is different, and there are many different ways cloud computing could be beneficial. How has cloud computing benefited your business? Do you feel that it could be beneficial for you?
By far, one of the largest benefits of the cloud is your server space’s size automatically scales based on the demand for your business/service. What this means is this: When spike in activity/traffic, the cloud will automatically adjust to fit your new business size.
And when traffic/activity declines (as is often the tragic case in most businesses – unless, of course, you’re Entrepreneur or Forbes) … the cloud will automatically scale back. Reducing space for you so you don’t pay for space you aren’t utilising. This automatic scalability makes it easier for you to reach your customers, and provide the honest value in their lives they’re looking for.
This also prevents server overload – and unnecessary downtime which is the downside of many websites. When your site is “down for maintenance” or upgrades, you’re losing traffic. The case is as simple as that.
Finally, the cloud helps your IT department evolve quickly, and get more done, in as quick a time as possible. Small-to-mid-sized businesses can benefit greatly from the cloud, and I hope you see why. Now go out there, make some money, adapt the cloud to your practices, and provide real value to your customers; now you can do so in half the amount of time, for half the cost. Cloud is the future. Cloud is now.