Every business has an operational structure. How it works, who reports to who, how the administrative tasks that come with being in business get done. Many businesses use a very traditional structure for this. They have an IT department, an accounting department, HR, Customer Service, etc. But as technology advances, new ways to organize come along. One enhancement with that potential for change is cloud computing.
If you aren’t familiar with the cloud, here’s the quick summary. Instead of purchasing software and installing it on computers at your businesses, you contract with vendors who supply similar functionality as the software you would have purchased, but you access it remotely. That’s a vast oversimplification, but with that you can understand that instead of having to wait a year for a new version, which you might have to purchase, you automatically get updated features for your cloud software as the vendor finishes them. You might get twenty new features in a year, all available instantly as they are completed, with no extra effort, one every two weeks or so.
How does this impact your business’ internal structure? Let’s take a look.
Reduction of Administrative Staff
One way you can change from that traditional business model is by reducing or eliminating unnecessary staff and departments. Any large company needs a Human Resources or Personnel department to manage hiring, training, and all the other HR related activities. By using a cloud-based tool which automates things like payroll, time tracking, and employee data retention, you can reduce that staff to the minimum needed.
Instead of a payroll department, you might only need one or two people. Your accounting team can be reduced by using customized tools in the cloud to balance your books. There may even be functions you can eliminate completely, just as switchboard operators were no longer needed as phone systems became more advanced.
Savings on IT Infrastructure And Staff
A great deal of time and effort is spent on creating and maintaining the infrastructure needed to support your computer systems, programs, and networks. A tech company may have a huge IT staff with millions of dollars of equipment, but even businesses outside the tech industry need to maintain highly complicated systems. Moving to the cloud allows you to move some of that maintenance task to a vendor, like GoDaddy for your WordPress hosting.
Instead of hiring a database administrator or team to build and monitor a database system, your cloud provider has done this for you. The cloud software is supported by the vendor, you call them for help with configuring software, or helping you find the best wordpress caching plugins. You can reduce your IT footprint enough to support your basic network needs through your cloud provider. That leaves you more resources and time to concentrate on your core competencies.
Coordination Between Departments
Using a CRM allows you to record all relevant information for your customers, and share it between the departments who need it. Marketing can use aggregate data like business intelligence and design campaigns to target new prospects. Sales can follow up on the leads generated using information gathered and stored in the CRM software.
Once the leads are converted, the customer service team has access to all the information gathered by sales and marketing, plus any they gather in the course of supporting the client. Research and development can use that data to choose what new directions to go. New products, new services, new features, whatever the data says customers want.
You can distribute your staff over a wider area, allowing work from home or mobile offices, since your tools can all be accessed in the cloud just as if they were in an office. This can give your business competitive advantages by using local sales staff in various offices across the country or around the world.
Your customer services can be distributed throughout many time zones, giving you a true 24 hour a day support center. Expert staff who don’t wish to relocate can still be hired and allowed to work through the cloud.
Managing people is usually about communication. With cloud-based VoIP technology, contacting staff around the world is no longer a barrier. Video conferencing through the cloud can make staff meetings or training sessions face to face again. Data management solutions can allow easy sharing of documents. Even sharing of computer desktops. Many companies offer automated phone systems which integrate work phones and mobile devices.
With the vast number of tools available through the cloud and the many ways they can transform traditional company structures, it is now possible to trim away much of the effort spent on administrative tasks and focus more on your central business goals.