Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Cloud Can Set You Free... for a Price

Every small business operates on a limited budget. When the objective is to make a profit, and not to spend money on technology, the Cloud may offer answers. However, in today’s world adopting new technologies will help anyone launching or maintaining a small business. For example, many businesses have databases containing customer or prospect records, process or inventory information and other important data. This may require expensive server and storage technology that typically does not fit within a start-up's budget. With the cloud, such organizations can store their extensive data remotely, with no need to purchase costly hardware or hire in-house IT professionals to manage these systems. Plus, because you are are reducing the amount of computer hardware, you are also reducing electricity, licensing and maintenance costs associated with maintaining and running in-house technology.

In this Forbes article, we read,

What’s the role of cloud computing in these digital-driven shifts? Ultimately, cloud provides a foundation that is making things happen. But simply subscribing to cloud — or even building a private cloud — does not automatically transform a company into digital mode. Rather, it is a key step in a long-term evolutionary process, and part of many things that are going on at once. Over the long term, what’s notable about these shifts in business models is the underlying premise that is affecting just about every business: everyone, to some degree, is becoming both a consumer and provider of cloud-based software...

[There will be] a resurgence of middleware — a services layer that will sit between abstracted systems and front-end end-user applications. This is a natural role for cloud computing, but don’t expect cloud to address all these requirements overnight — or even over the next few years. As Accenture puts it: “It’s not possible to use a single platform to handle every business requirement. And don’t assume that cloud will always be the answer either.”

Reading emails is a killer app for mobile devices. This means having a mobile-friendly approach to engaging employees, customers and leads has never been more important. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the platform of choice for computing and collaboration versus sitting behind a desk. By embracing the iPhone and others, you can leverage data and drive service delivery. Deep knowledge of how business owners need to run their shops and the mission critical processes they depend on will be facilitated by the switch to mobile devices for computing needs. Look for solutions to be developed for mobile devices, tablets, beyond traditional desktops. Information and functionality will be available to customers, staff and others in any environment, without having to download or configure platform-specific legacy apps, or by going to the manual or to training programs. And data will be shared among these apps, which will accelerate a move away from on-premises installations of software to software-as-a-service/cloud-based implementations.

The advantages of mobile computing compound the benefits of the Cloud, and small businesses and other organizations have the means to free themselves, from the likes of the IT crowd :-)

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