Cloud computing is radically changing the way we do business today. Many important business functions are being moved to the cloud, making them the cheaper and more reliable for businesses of all sizes. The impact on small businesses are perhaps most dramatic, giving these small enterprises access to resources not possible before the advent of the cloud.
Cloud Computing Data Sharing and Backup
Data storage was one of the first business functions moved to the cloud. By outsourcing data storage to cloud providers, small businesses can reduce or eliminate the IT overhead associated with maintaining file servers while making data easy to share across the office and at home. The advantages of scalability make it much more affordable to keep remote back-ups of important data.
The rise of cloud computing has seen the creation of many innovative tools for communication and collaboration. It has also lowered the barrier of entry for enterprise grade services such PBX networks, offered by companies such as Telesphere, which were once only available to businesses with the resources to operated self-hosted networks. Cloud-based communications platforms make it is easier than ever for businesses to communicate over a variety of devices and take advantage of task-specific tools for things such as remote white-boarding, video chat, and conferencing.
Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, integrates several key business functions into one suite of software utilities that interact closely with one another. ERP is extremely efficient for tracking inventory, managing payroll, organizing marketing campaigns, and generating reports. It allows for greater cooperation between different sections of the business. While this was once a tool only used by large corporations, it is rapidly becoming a possibility for smaller businesses thanks to cloud platforms that allow you to outsource the management of the software.
Customer Relationship Management
Like ERP, Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM, is an integrated set of tools that makes managing aspects of a business more efficient and easier to track. In the case of CRM, the tools are specifically for managing customer interaction. Utilizing cloud-based CRM software allows employees in billing, marketing, or technical support to access needed customer information on the fly, allowing you to create a more personalized relationship to each of your customers.
Many of the everyday productivity software used by companies is also moving to the cloud. This includes software for editing documents, creating presentations, handling spreadsheets, managing calendars and a variety of other everyday office task. By running this software in the cloud, small businesses can be less dependent on a particular configuration of hardware and software; tasks can be completed on almost any web-enabled device.
There are numerous benefits to handling these essential business functions in the cloud. Utilizing cloud platforms ensures that your company resources are available at all times, that they are securely backed-up, and that they can be accessed with a wide variety of computer equipment. The greatest benefit of the cloud may be the cost compared to running software locally, allowing small businesses to do things only possible for large corporations a few years ago.