Forget Blue Sky Thinking and Head for the Clouds

With cash tight, and difficult to come by, most businesses are searching for ways to cut overheads.  Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have faced difficult times in recent years; even under normal circumstances a significant proportion of start-ups fail within the first three years of trading and the recession has not made things any easier.  However, SMEs have some distinct advantages over the bigger type of enterprise, in that being small allows them to move quickly.  In addition they don’t face the same level of day to day overheads that many large firms struggle to manage.  Technology is also giving a helping hand in the form of cloud computing or “software as a service” solutions.  This type of computing means that even the smallest firm can access some big business advantages.  However, small firms haven’t wholeheartedly rushed to embrace cloud computing solutions, partly from lack of understanding and partly from lack of expertise.

What is Cloud  Computing?

For small firms – often one man/woman outfits – a lack of understanding of what cloud computing is and how it can be used are often the biggest problems that they face.  So let’s cut to the chase; what is cloud computing?  Cloud computing has been with us for years and most of us have used it in our personal lives without realising it.  Hotmail is a good example of cloud computing which has been right under our noses for several years.  Instead of having your email programme on your desktop – taking up space and becoming suddenly inaccessible when the blue-screen devil puts in an appearance – hotmail remains remotely hosted and available at any computer or device with an internet connection.  Welcome to the world of cloud computing.

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Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafaeldesigner/4882836205/

Pocket Computing

Things have changed since we all signed up for hotmail back in the stone age of the internet.  Broadband capabilities have improved radically and today, we’ve all got a pocket sized computer to hand.  Not only can just about any software be provided in the cloud but it can be accessed at anytime from anywhere by virtue of that fact.  For small firms this offers perhaps the most benefits.  The first big one is the lack of space needed on your own hard drive; document and media files can be hosted, stored and backed up remotely which increases your PCs performance and also removes the risk of everything going up in smoke along with that elderly desktop PC.  From accounting to customer relationship management solutions, everything is pretty much available in the cloud, which means its all there in your pocket whenever you need it.

Flying High in Business

Cloud solutions now come in a range of forms from a huge range of providers.  Google, naturally, can fulfil your every need; from G-mail, scurrilously nicknamed G-fail by some commentators, to a range of document and media storage solutions.  Although utilising these solutions is great for small firms there is a lot to be said from hosting all of your cloud services with a dedicated business provider.  Cloud providers for business who can offer a full range of solutions from storage to online CRM packages offer a simple way to manage all your software under one simple package.  Whichever route you choose when it comes to providers, with cloud solutions for small firms, the only way seems to be up.

Netsuites consultants offer a complete range of solutions for businesses of any size with a keen focus on solutions for the small to medium sector.

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