In a world of proliferating small businesses, anything you can do to differentiate your business is a huge advantage. This is not easy if you are running a lean company, but one way for a startup to separate itself from competitors is through the cloud.
The popularity of migrating your small operations to the cloud makes perfect business sense. The cloud provides two things that a small business desperately needs—a chance to slash cost and an opportunity to enhance productivity.
Let’s take a look at how to use the cloud and some advantages of using the cloud:
3 Unique Examples of Cloud Usage
One of the nicest features of the cloud is that it accommodates human creativity. An innovative entrepreneur has the same flexibility as an artist who has a drawing tablet and is equipped with a choice of pens, pencils, and markers.
Let’s take a look at how the cloud can be used to enhance human creativity.
1. Cloud Contact Center Software. Many things that once required a lot of office space can now be easily transformed into their virtual equivalent. When, for example, you think of a call center, what do you imagine? Perhaps, a massive room equipped with cubicles, with each operator outfitted with telecommunication equipment. However, today professional services like Five9 allow you to successfully implement your own virtual contact center.
2. Creative Suites. Talking about innovation and creativity, let’s take a look at how Adobe Software has upgraded their business model for designers. Many web designers and graphic artists remember how it used to be necessary to buy a Creative Suite like Photoshop and InDesign in a box. Since these were expensive due to their complex software engineering, it wasn’t always possible to use the latest, greatest version. Now as a creative, you don’t have to load up this software onto their own computer. Just access the Adobe Creative Cloud through a monthly subscription service. You not only have access to the latest version, but you don’t have to deal with any technical issues like installations, upgrades, and repair.
3. Photographs. There has been an unprecedented rise in photography because anyone can now easily snap a picture with their smart phone. Unfortunately, it’s only too easy to clutter up a phone’s internal memory because you’ve become a shutterbug on your latest holiday. Now, however, it’s a cinch to upload all your photographs to Instagram. Not only do you free up the memory on your devices, but you also make it much easier to share your pictures with everyone.
3 Good Reasons to Use the Cloud
Before the advent of the cloud, it was expensive to set up a business, difficult to access your data from anywhere in the world at all hours of the day or night, and costly to handle the fluctuations in business seasons.
1. Cost savings. It took time and money to build out an infrastructure. You needed to shell out a considerable amount of cash to build an on-premise computer system. You also needed to hire IT to keep things running smoothly. The cloud has made all that obsolete. You can do more with less funding.
2. Easy access. Since the cloud enhances user access, it’s a wonderful way for small business owners to work from a home or hotel, during business hours or after it, and on the road or in the field. It also makes it much easier to work with outsourcing companies, as everybody with permission can access company resources, communicate needs and ask questions, and do basic things like file sharing and team collaboration. Efficient work becomes the new normal.
3. Scalability. Finally, there is the enormous benefit of scalability. What do you do if you need more bandwidth or other computer resources because of a huge surge in traffic after a successful marketing campaign or because of a public holiday spending spree? This is something that a cloud provider can easily handle. Conversely, what do you do in the off-season when sales volume drops? Again, an adjustment you make in your use of resources can be easily made.
The New Normal
The biggest problems companies of all sizes have are data, specifically the proliferation of data as the means of fetching and organizing it have increased. While cloud computing has not solved the problem of big data, it has made it much easier to store the data that computers around the world are constantly collecting. Data is essential for the rapid growth of startups in the digital age. The better a small company can get at storing and sifting through its data, the better it will help provide customers with the services they need.
In closing, it’s important to point out that the cloud is not a passing trend, but has become the new normal for many small businesses. According to a Forbes article on the future of the cloud, “Many are depending on the cloud to launch new business models, help streamline their supply chains, and provide applications and platforms to better manage and analyze data.”