In theory, cloud based solutions are intended to act as tools that will help you in organizing your SMB (small to medium business). They should be easy to use, so you won't rely on the IT department for cloud adoption and maintenance. A recent survey conducted by Forbes recently found that 32 percent of SMB owners are still relying on their IT departments to adopt and maintain their companies' cloud-based programs. IT professionals would have more time to maintain the business' VPS hosting if the SMB owner loosened their grip on some of the easier to maintain programs. If your book keeper has all of your business' financial data, maybe your book keeper should have access to the ERP (enterprise resource planning) feature of your cloud based program and not the IT guy.
Accessible From Anywhere (Or are They?)
Cloud-based programs are meant to be accessible from anywhere, so why is it that 26 percent of these SMBs preferred their cloud program be used onsite only? It does defeat the purpose of having your information and finances in "the cloud" if executives are going to not allow "anywhere access" or refuse to trust their employees to access analytic information offsite. Maybe the bigger issue is that not all businesses are ready for the cloud revolution, and that's OK. Just because "the cloud solutions" happen to be latest trend doesn't mean you must use one to run your business.
Make the Transition
Transitioning your business practice to a cloud solution could cost you your business if it's not ready for the shift. Startups might find the shift less worth it, because their client base isn't large enough. Plus, removing unwanted changes to your operations can cost you time, money and sometimes clients.
Deciding if You're SMB is Ready
How can you tell if your business is ready for a cloud solution? Forbes' Joe McKendrick came up with a few great questions you should be asking a representative before you and your SMB make the flying leap to using cloud solution software. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Can the cloud program run on your current OS (operating system) and will it run your applications easily and seamlessly?
- Will this solution meet our input and output requirements?
- What are the data protection strategies and the costs for added storage?
- How quickly can operations be restored if the main system goes down? Is there a backup system if the program blacks out?
- Does the provider offer 24-hour customer service?
Also, consider asking yourself these questions:
- Will moving to a cloud solution simplify my daily operations?
- Can I trust employees, other than IT, to file reports on a cloud-based program?
- Can I afford to make this transition at this stage in the game?
- Do I need to build my business more before adopting a cloud-based solution as part of my companies' operations.
Depending on what your answers are to the above questions will hinge greatly on what your next step should be. Cloud computing has made managing a small business more possible and practical. With a solid data recovery backup, easy to use CRM (customer relations management) software and other useful tools made available through a cloud based solution, you can expect an all around easy to use, fully accessible solution for your business.
Author: Bobby Hill Certified in C++, PHP and CSS, Bobby maintains MySQL databases for several companies. When he's not writing programs, he's sharing tips with other programmers and slaughtering his online chess game opponents.