Take your business to the Clouds
The fact that everything is online means that multiple users can access and work on documents simultaneously and edit in real-time. So if you are working on a presentation with a colleague who works from home, you can both be viewing simultaneously and see the edits being implemented on your screen as you work, for example.
In short, no more emailing attachments to and fro between users. You can also access your email from the airport or from your Android phone in a taxi. Or you can build an internal website to ensure employees have a central resource to information, just by a simple click of a button.
Benefits for the business owner
A strong motivating factor for businesses to convert their IT infrastructure to the cloud will no doubt be the associated cost savings. Once you’re hooked up to the web, the cost of buying licenses, purchasing servers and maintaining them is reduced because it’s possible to effectively ‘rent’ these applications from a third party.
Having your IT applications hosted over the Internet means no investment in hardware or software and no issues with upgrades or installing new features because that all happens automatically. You also get automated innovation – because product improvements are implemented over the Internet they are often instant and certainly do not require long upgrade periods before users can reap the benefits.
Business users don’t need to be experts in operating systems as technology is now designed to make it easier for us to interact as human beings without computers being a barrier– as long as we can both access the same document, calendar or spreadsheet via the Internet, we can work together more easily.
The real and tangible business benefits will be evident when, for example, a delivery company can track the status of its orders from any application at any time, viewing the latest information as it is inputted and therefore improving the accuracy of their response to customer enquiries.
A PA is able to keep track of her boss’s diary arrangements alongside those of whom he needs to meet, without accessing multiple sources of information. A proposal for a project can be discussed online as it is updated by several users at the same time.
Securing the cloud
Some small business owners could be hesitant to transfer their entire IT infrastructure to the cloud — hosting your data with a web-based provider can represent a shift in thinking about control and security of data. However, it is important to remember that the business of the key cloud computing providers companies who host the data depends on offering a secure environment for it.
They invest more time and money in protecting their customers’ data than any small organisation could possibly afford; in fact, it is one of the most important factors considered when developing new products that handle personal and business data.
Looking to the future
Cloud computing has clear benefits as a means of deploying applications, and there is increasing understanding that the new modes of working it enables represent the future of the workplace.
Cloud computing has arrived and it is up to businesses to come to terms with what this means for the way they organise and run not just their IT, but their business as a whole.
Written by Juliet Ehimuan, Country Manager for Google