A great number of small and medium-sized enterprises continue to drag their feet in the matter of incorporating cloud computing into their daily operations. The truth is, a huge percentage of them are still unsure of how or where to integrate cloud computing technology into their businesses.
Not only can “embracing the cloud” speed up operations, it gives SMEs greater access to Big Data, it is easy to set up and use, it can save money on the cost of hardware and software, as well as maintenance and upgrades. Its high availability makes SMEs more accessible to their customers, and keeps them a step ahead of competitors. In fact, it can put smaller businesses in the running along with the major players in their industry.
With cloud computing presenting a bright and sunny forecast, here are some practical uses for cloud computing in the daily operations of small and medium-sized enterprises:
- Document storage – cloud computing will allow SMEs to save, edit and modify large amounts of files that can be stored online. From Word and spreadsheet files, to PDFs and audio files, one can store nearly all types of data with a cloud computing service. What’s more, SMEs can opt to purchase the amount of space it needs on a per-unit basis.
- Information access and project management – SMEs and their employees can access company information from anywhere, at anytime with the use of a compatible device. Unlike storing data on a computer or an office server, cloud computing enables data storage on the Internet and makes the information available to anyone in any location who has an Internet connection and the proper credentials. This makes it easier for teams working on the same project from different sides of the globe to be able to collaborate, even if they’re away from the office or the main company server. This is especially convenient for SMEs that run projects involving a good number of freelance or outsourced contractors. Data stored in the cloud will always be up-to-date and accessible anytime at anyplace.
- Website hosting – While bigger companies have access to funds to purchase their own physical server to host their websites, SMEs that are not as fund-fortunate can switch to cloud hosting and have one or more servers connected online. They can choose to scale up or down, depending on their bandwidth needs instead of paying full price for running and maintaining a whole server.
- Web analytics – Instead of hiring a consultant or maintain a webmaster on payroll who’ll track server logs and record the data on website visits, SME’s can utilize cloud-based systems whose web analytic platforms provide a more advanced method of tracking and parsing data. These systems can even include real-time reporting that allows SMEs to track and log user activity on their website at every second.
- Accounting and billing – Keeping track of hours, expenses and invoices may mean keeping a whole bookkeeping team on payroll. With a cloud-hosted accounting system, SMEs can track employees in real time while monitoring their clients’ timely payment of invoices.
As cloud computing is capable of supporting a huge range of services and nearly every application an SME needs to operate, it only goes to show how it can provide a productivity boost, improve collaboration and promote innovation for small and medium-sized enterprises everywhere.
Photo courtesy of dreaming_of_rivers.