Cloud technology is a real game-changer for SMEs, offering the latest, scalable solutions at affordable prices. Whereas once the most innovative and efficient software was only in reach of the biggest businesses, cloud computing has levelled the playing field.
Unlike large organsiations, SMEs are less likely to be constrained by legacy infrastructure and costly bespoke systems, so they are best placed to take advantage of the surge in cloud-based solutions.
So, what exactly is the cloud?
Put simply, the cloud is a virtual place where you can access apps and services, and where your data can be stored securely. It doesn’t require any additional on-site hardware and you don’t need to worry about maintenance or capacity issues.
As we spend less time at our desks, with more business being conducted on the move, perhaps the greatest benefit of cloud technology is being able to access these applications and services from anywhere. All you need is a device with an internet connection.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at these great cloud-based solutions for SMEs:
Xero and Quickbooks are two of the leading cloud-accounting providers, and for good reason. They provide a real-time overview of your finances, allowing you to monitor cash flow, create VAT returns, set budgets, and create business reports. Unlike traditional desktop accounting software, your accountant and other members of your team can access and update your accounts simultaneously.
Document storage and management
Google Drive and Dropbox are popular options for storing files in the cloud. Edit that Powerpoint presentation on the train, update your spreadsheets during a meeting, or review a document as you wait in line for your coffee. Invite colleagues and clients to view, download, and collaborate too.
The freedom to print from any device, to any printer, at home, work, or elsewhere. That’s the reality of cloud-printing. Cloud printing services, like Google Cloud Print, remove the hassle of downloading, maintaining, and installing drivers for each printer. The service allows you to manage your printers and printing jobs, and share printers securely from your Google Account.
Software as a service
Sometimes referred to as SaaS, software as a service is software that is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted in the cloud. No more software on CD-ROMs, no installation process or software updates to purchase and manage. For a small monthly subscription fee, there’s a huge variety of software available to SMEs via this service-based model. SaaS reduces IT responsibilities and costs for many SMEs, and monthly subscriptions are scalable based on your business needs.
Examples of SaaS include Salesforce, a powerful customer relationship manager, Office 365 for Microsoft’s staple applications, and Slack, a real-time messaging, archiving and search solution, that is making internal email obsolete in some organisations.
Taking advantage of the latest cloud technology could save you time and money whilst increasing insight, flexibility, and convenience. Most cloud-service providers offer a free trial period, so why not see if your SME could benefit from the cloud?