While cloud-based technologies are growing in popularity among small businesses, many still haven’t made the leap. In our recent webinar, experts shared the signs it’s time to shift to the cloud. Here are some questions to help you know what to look out for.
Are you busy or are you productive?
If you spend more time travelling to meetings than actually working, you might need a new approach.Connecting through the cloud means fewer in-person meetings with remote staffers and vendors. Simple check-ins can happen through real-time chats, keeping communication flowing. And by automating tasks like customer follow-up, you can maximize your customer relationships while freeing your staff to do other things.
Cloud collaboration tools have saved Dave Burkhard, owner of video production company PicturePoint On-line, hours of driving, helping him to more quickly deliver projects for review and track input from both graphic artists, videographers and clients. “I can do in five minutes what might have taken three or four hours,” says Burkhard.
Can you easily find and share the documents your business needs?
Cloud-based storage helps you create systems for important documents, such as contracts, HR forms and timesheets, so files are easy to search and access. They can also automate the completion process for forms and other documents, ensuring the most critical fields are always filled in and that you’ve acquired every important signature.
“Cabinets and cabinets of paper” from the the analog world go away, says Tom Sweeney of Comcast Business. “The brains and the intelligence of your business is now archived securely.”
Can you easily track where projects stand?
Managing staff and vendors can be time-consuming. Cloud-based project tools allow every member of your team to access changing project timelines as they shift and comment together on one document, tracking reviews and notifying you when changes have been made. This way, your team can spend more time collaborating and less time wondering where your review process stands.
Are you ready for the worst?
Most small companies don’t have the resources for a full IT team to keep their information secure. Cloud solutions can help provide that support, creating automatic backups and disaster recovery options, protecting both staff, company and client data. Cloud tools for security are “seamless,” according to Mike Lyons, the founder of 9Three Solutions, a company that develops cloud-based software. “You don’t have to worry, ‘Are my finances safe? Am I vulnerable to an attack?”