With the heavy burden small businesses carry today due to the recession, small business owners must take smart steps to lower costs, while increasing profitability. One business model I recommend you to seriously consider is cloud business.
Well, this article’s title may be inappropriate; the future IS now as businesses are going online (and going to the “cloud”,) not only for marketing and branding purposes but also for lowering their operational costs.
Indeed, cloud business is a business that runs efficiently and effectively, thus it is lowering costs related to business operations.
Cloud business 101
We heard about “cloud computing,” “cloud applications” and such. But, what are they? Let’s talk about cloud, shall we?
What is cloud computing? According to Wikipedia:
Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.
What are cloud applications? Cloud applications are the business applications delivered by the cloud computing providers.
What is cloud business and how it relates with cloud computing and applications? Cloud business is referring to a business that “go cloud.”
The whole idea of going cloud is based on this simple premise: You are not likely to generate your own electricity. Why not doing the same for your small business’ IT infrastructure?
We all know that IT is the backbone of a successful business. Even mom’s-and-pop’s shop you see in a small town is using IT in some ways. The simple way to put it: You can’t escape IT, including the Internet; it’s almost inevitable. If your business doesn’t embrace IT (in the right ways) you lose your grip in the competition – that’s the way it is.
Let’s go back to the cloud business concept, shall we?
So, what is cloud business, anyway? In essence, cloud business is a business in which business operations and business processes “outsourced” to be done “in the cloud” using cloud applications.
Your business literally just need to “plug in” your business to the internet, get access to the cloud apps, and voila! You can access and interact with business services from the cloud-ready service providers.
Which providers? Google (search engine with various integrated and interconnected Google apps,) SalesForce.com (CRM software solution,) ZenDesk (help desk software,) FedEX (shipping and logistic services,) Amazon’s EC2 (virtual computing environment,) Microsoft Online Services (cloud business suite,) and many, many more.
Cloud business concept is interesting, but how it can benefit my business?
Your challenges as a small business owner is to find ways to build a cloud-supporting infrastructure – or in other words, a single control centre – or a dashboard, if you will, from which you can launch and access cloud apps and services from one, centralised location to do day-to-day business operation.
Once you and your business have embraced the concept of cloud business, you can benefit from the simplicity and flexibility of the cloud business model, not mentioning the increased productivity and lower overall business operational costs.
For advices on how to go cloud, be sure to follow up to date cloud business news and consult with your trusted cloud computing consultants and providers.
Are you ready to go cloud for your small business? What’s your view about the whole “cloud” idea? Please share your opinions by commenting on this article.