Most small business owners understand cloud computing as a tool. A pay-as-you-go, web based tool. Not more, not less. And they’re pretty much right.
Thing is, tools matter. They carry distinct advantages and disadvantages, which are sometimes subtle, long term, and structural. Cloud computing is no exception: besides the usual advantages, cloud based tools help businesses become more transparent, more flexible, and (ultimately) more profitable. Here’s how.
1. Cloud computing makes business more transparent.
First off, cloud computing tools tend to centralize everything together. Contacts and files and tasks aren’t spread across multiple desktops or servers anymore: they’re nested online, in one place, always. This tends to make business more transparent, as it’s harder to partition data off than it is to keep things open. We’ve seen clients go from pitting reps against one another to providing shared incentives and a company-wide contact repository. That’s a crazy change, and it happened because of cloud based tools.
2. Cloud computing makes business more flexible.
Just as they make things more transparent, cloud computing tools also blur the life/work dichotomy. The 8 hour work day stuck in a cubicle is a less helpful model when tools are 100% mobile. Working from home, hiring talent abroad, traveling for work (or play): cloud computing only helps. It’s fundamentally flexible. We even had a client who reversed plans for a new office recently, just because the new system rendered it unnecessary. That’s money saved.
3. Cloud computing makes clients happy.
Perhaps the largest implication that cloud tools carry is how they change client/company relationships. It’s an unwritten rule of business that aligning interests is the best way to create (and retain) happy customers. That takes open communication and two-way dialogue. Read that again: open communication and two-way dialogue, two of the core virtues of cloud based tools. We’ve seen this firsthand: when we begin new jobs, we share all projected tasks and dates with clients via Solve360, a cloud CRM. Everyone is on the same page, with the same expectations, in the same conversation. And yes, business is better because of it, too.
Tools matter. Transitioning to cloud based tools has many well-documented advantages – usability, scalability, etc – but it also has long term consequences for your business process and structure. Call us naive, but we like the idea of a more transparent, flexible and open world, especially in business. It works for us, it’s working for our clients, and it’ll probably work for you too.
VM Associates is a New York City cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.