Ways of doing business are constantly changing as new methods of accessing information are developed and new ways of working are adopted. Nowhere is this more evident than in the irresistible rise of cloud computing, which is transforming the way that businesses are operating. What exactly is cloud computing?
The cloud introduced
In simple terms, cloud computing is computing that is based on the internet. In the past, applications and programs would be run from software that had been downloaded onto a server or computer in the building where employees worked. Now, these types of applications can be accessed simply through the internet, and more and more businesses are taking up the option of using the cloud.
Business benefits of cloud computing
It can be easy, when new ways of doing things come along, for businesses to get left behind, leaving early adopters at a real advantage. Cloud computing has many benefits, particularly for smaller organisations, and can help increase efficiency, improve cash flow and a range of other advantages.
One of the biggest parts of capital expenditure for a business, especially for a startup, is the computer hardware and software required to operate efficiently and effectively. Add in the constant need for updating equipment, getting it repaired when it goes wrong and, where necessary, organising disaster recovery, and it starts to add up to a considerable amount.
By transferring everything to the cloud, it removes the need for expensive hardware and software because the cloud provider will take care of all those functions. It also means that a business uses only as much server space as it actually needs, and if it needs more space quickly, then can be provided almost instantly.
Organisations that had not considered using enterprise resource planning before to help streamline all their departmental operations (for example, accounts, ordering, sales, distribution and manufacturing) can now take advantage of Cloud ERP and implement it at an affordable cost.
Using the cloud also allows employees to access files that they and colleagues are working on as they are kept in one central location, so people can collaborate as they make changes. Strong collaboration is a major advantage of using the cloud because it increases efficiency and can make a significant contribution to improving a business's bottom line.
Many tens of thousands of laptop computers are lost every year, often in airports, and unless data is backed up on another device it can give a business severe problems. With all data stored in the cloud, it means that if a machine is lost or stolen, there is no data lost and it can be accessed easily.
One of the most useful aspects of working in the cloud is that it can be accessed wherever there is internet connectivity. This means that employees can see the data they need wherever in the world they may be, and use tablets and smartphones as well as laptops to get that access.