The rapid global spread of COVID-19 has left a lasting impact on the business world, and we can expect to see the implications of these changes for decades to come. Many companies have needed to rapidly pivot to a distributed, remote working set-up for the majority of their staff, and this has presented significant challenges. Providing both employee and customer access to your business’s key data is crucial to keeping your operations up and running, regardless of the circumstance. If you have never considered shifting to a cloud computing model, now may be the time to look at this again.
So, what is cloud computing? At a really basic level, platforms like Google Drive, Spotify, and Microsoft 365 are great examples – these are services offered to the stand-alone consumer, and can be accessed anywhere in the world with a strong internet or data connection. As a business owner, you have a wider variation of cloud computing options to consider. You can choose to opt into a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) like Windows Azure, where you have the opportunity to customize the application to your individual business needs. You can also choose to use a software-as-a-service (SaaS), which means an external company will manage both your account, and the application – think DropBox. Your third option is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) based model, like Amazon Web Services, which gives you a lot of control over the infrastructure, but can be complex.
Regardless of which type of cloud service you choose, there are a multitude of advantages for your business. Cloud computing offers you increased efficiencies and cost savings in IT, as many of the models will take care of updates, patches, and support for users. Servers can be accessed anywhere in the world, at any time of day, on any connected device – providing you and your staff increased flexibility to work remotely, and to access important data at a moment’s notice. In addition, you’ll find that many cloud solutions are using highly encrypted and secure servers; it’s likely that many of the cloud computing models have a higher level of security than existing business systems and servers.
Another interesting feature of a cloud-based solution is ability to scale rapidly. Many of the available options are able to closely track usage for efficiency reporting; this allows you to monitor and adjust the available features and services offered for better productivity. If your business is rapidly growing, a cloud solution is typically set up so it can scale rapidly alongside your business – after all, if a service has multiple customers using variable degrees of capacity and service, they are well positioned to respond to a huge variation of business needs – yours included. Flexible, reliable, secure, scalable, and measurable: consider if cloud computing, and the subsequent automation that comes hand-in-hand, can benefit your business.
It’s important to do thorough due diligence on any business change, so make sure you are choosing a cloud solution that is the right fit for your business in terms of security, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.
How can Halkin Business Partners help?
As business consultants we have 20 years of experience across working with SME clients providing advice across sales, operations, accounting and technology. This in depth understanding gives us the unique ability to view your business holistically and advise on the best in market, scalable technology solutions that will create efficiencies and provide critical insight so you can make better, more informed business decisions.
Halkin can map out your processes, prescribe and implement cloud-based solutions across Point of Sale, e-commerce, Inventory Management, Accounting and CRM systems. For more information click here.