Why the cloud is not just a buzzword
‘The cloud’ – it’s the buzz term that has been making its rounds, and as a business owner you’re most likely already utilising the cloud.
So, how can you make sure you’re reaping its benefits?
Map out your pain-points
“You need to start by identifying what issues are causing the biggest pain points and figuring out how these cloud solution can address that,” explains Chandra Sinnathamby, Head of Document Cloud Solutions – APAC at Adobe. It’s common that people buy solutions and are using one or two of the key features, says Sinnathamby, but too often they don’t realise the full potential of what the technology can do.
Ensure your tech solution integrates with your current set-up
Once you’re clear on any pain points or gaps you may have, it’s time to look at what technology you can bring in that integrates with what you already have today, according to Sinnathamby. “Get tech that complements and integrates with your systems to get the most out of it,” he says.
“You want Acrobat to have integration with Microsoft Office and Office 365, for example, and to ensure it integrates and complements whatever tech you’ve already invested in.”
Mobilise your workforce and take advantage of the full potential of the cloud
“Today everyone is working differently compared to our parents – we’re spending more time out of the office and on-site working remotely,” says Sinnathamby. “The cloud software makes connectivity come alive and a mobile workplace come together and be productive away from the office. The cloud is the glue that makes it all happen.”
For online retailer, Yellow Octopus, almost all of the software used is SaaS systems that are in the cloud including their CRM, warehouse management system and accountancy system. “As an online business, it’s only natural that the majority of the things we do are managed on the cloud,” says CEO, Derek Sheen.
“We have everything from bacon flavoured toothpaste, to samurai sword shaped umbrellas, to a $200,000 personal submarine.”
The team frequently use cloud applications to share ideas and plans so that individual members can make changes to documents simultaneously, says Sheen. “The cloud has enabled our team to work more effectively and efficiently, and as the founder of the business, it has allowed me to be able to view key metrics and be able to work from almost anywhere in the world.”
Use the cloud to meet customer demands
In a digital world customer expectations are evolving and it’s up to businesses to meet these standards. “For example, a lot of small businesses have sales teams on the road, and they are required to go to a customer’s house/office, to provide a service and give them a quote. However, these days, the ability to accept the quote by signing on the spot is the kind of productivity you should be looking for, to close the sale, rather than going back to the office, and only then sending the customer the quote and waiting for them to respond,” explains Sinnathamby.
It’s vital you look for these trends and anticipate them to remain competitive, and to make your own processes easier.
“I believe moving to the cloud is inevitable for all businesses,” says Sheen. “The cloud allows better team collaboration and enhances the flexibility of your workforce, which is very important in this day and age. Customers are online 24/7 now and businesses have to be too.”
Thea Christie, Content Coordinator, SmartCompany
Thea Christie is the Content Coordinator of SmartCompany, the leading publication for entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and managers, providing news and resources relevant to the SME market. Thea also writes for its sister publication StartupSmart. Formerly, Thea has worked as a journalist and content writer for Hardie Grant Publishing, BauerTrader Media and Time Out Melbourne.