How Can Small Businesses Use the Cloud to Increase Profits?Cloud computing allows you to access the small business software and services you need, when and however you need them. Small- and medium-sized businesses may be most familiar with cloud computing in the forms of email, file-sharing and disaster recovery services. Many are finding the cloud not only convenient, but cost-effective, too, according to an article on the technology website SmallBusinessComputing.com.
The article cites a survey in which 88 percent of respondents said they saved money by using cloud services. The study, conducted in part by cloud provider Rackspace Hosting, surveyed 1,300 U.S. and U.K. companies. For more than half, the cloud had reduced IT maintenance needs and helped increase profits.
On a basic level, cloud services offer two types of savings to small businesses.
- Hardware and employee time: Cloud services lighten the technological load for small businesses and reduce the expenses of owning and maintaining software and hardware.For example, a growing business could use a cloud service instead of buying a new server or hiring an additional IT technician, according to the SmallBusinessComputing.com article. And eliminating manual tasks by using cloud-based automation tools could free up employees’ time so they can create new products and services that generate income for the business.
- Low upfront costs: Purchasing a physical copy of a software product might cost you hundreds of dollars, plus you’ll spend several hours installing and configuring it. With the online version, instead of paying for the software in one large upfront payment, the cost is spread out in low monthly access fees, and the software company typically runs and maintains the tools for you, remotely.
Even with these cost benefits, it may take time for SMBs to truly tap into the cloud’s potential as a strategic asset. Cloud computing offers an entirely different mindset for the small business owner. As SMBs move more data into the cloud, they will find it easier and easier to connect their data to a variety of powerful business tools.
Has the cloud allowed your businesses to connect your services and employees in a way you couldn’t before? Share your thoughts below!
Source: SmallBusinessComputing.com, March 2013
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