Put Some Business Ops on the Cloud
Is your business using any cloud-based services? Chances are pretty good that it is. Anyone who has a Gmail or Yahoo account is doing it even if they still use their home-based Office package. Furthermore, they use the cloud if they check their bank balance or pay their bills online.
The cloud is useful in so many different ways. You no longer have to wait for clients to upgrade their software before they can read your deliverable. There’s no more stress from those who can’t figure out how to zip and unzip files. You can stop worrying about running out of hard drive space. The cloud does all this and more, making many business functions easier and more secure for you, your employees and your clients.
Most Common Uses for the Cloud
IBM’s Thoughts on Cloud blog lists the most commonly-used cloud services including infrastructure, test and development, data analytics, file storage, disaster recovery and data backup.
The great thing about the cloud is that you can pick and choose what services you want. If you currently don’t use any cloud services, start small and try out a data storage service like DropBox. This is a great place to start because “DropBox is the epitome of simple,” states Top 10 Cloud Storage, a cloud review site.
Cloud services are also great for small businesses because an amazing number offer free storage with no time limit and a generous dollop of space. They typically provide file sharing and access to data through all devices such as your desktop, mobile and tablet. InfoWorld calls this a liquid approach to computing because no single device owns the process anymore.
Cloud Services Make the Routine Truly Routine
Think about routine tasks you have considered automating or outsourcing to save time such as payroll or processing papers for new employees. This is actually a cloud service that many providers target to small and midsize businesses. Entrepreneur explains that a reputable vendor should deliver:
- Direct deposit for all employees: part-time, full-time and temporary
- New employee reporting
- Paid time off tracking
- Payroll taxes
- Benefit deductions (401k, health, flex, etc.)
- Other earnings (bonuses, commissions, etc.) and deductions (garnishments)
If you have to do one of these, why not do them all with one package? Not only will this process be streamlined by the cloud but it also will offer guaranteed accuracy and security, software maintenance and upgrades and saved and stored data.
Cloud Services Keep Everyone on the Same Software
Are you still emailing documents back and forth with clients? How many times has someone responded that they can’t open a document or that their computer doesn’t support that file type?
Save time and frustration by putting everyone on the same software and tools to communicate and collaborate. Cloud-based office services like Google Docs provide drives, word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software that can be shared at no charge. More robust, moderately priced packages like Office 365 and ZoHo deliver even more services like reporting, password management and live conferencing that make it even easier to work together across geographic and time zone boundaries.
At Executionists we use cloud-based apps for internal and external client needs. We collaborate on our visual design using ProofHQ.com. For project management we use Basecamp.com. Accounting is done through Quickbooks and Freshbooks.com. For sharing files and file backups we use dropbox.com and box.com. We even write and deliver our proposals on the cloud with Proposable.com. Of course we also use the full suite of Google apps (calendar, email, drive, etc) to handle our internal and external communications. If you’d like to hear about our experience with any of these apps, please give us a call.