At the end of 2018, it is projected that more than 85% of UK businesses will be using at least one type of cloud service.
Cloud computing offers the benefit of being able to access software and solutions via the internet without actually owning it. That is the principle of cloud computing – a new approach to internet technology for both larger and small businesses.
It provides flexibility, efficiency and cost savings for businesses. For smaller businesses who do not wish to purchase systems outright, it gives you access to the best and latest technology and support with minimum management overheads on a pay-as you go basis.
Cloud computing has been enabled by the advent of Superfast Broadband. The high bandwidths enabled by fibre technology have removed the barriers that previously made the use of remote servers and services unmanageable. Today, however, you can achieve almost seamless integration of your own systems and those hosted in the cloud.
So what are the benefits of using cloud computing?
- Improved productivity: Cloud-based applications allow off-site staff to update information in real time rather than having to come back into the office.
- Scalability: Cloud software and data storage use a pay-as-you-go model known as Software as a Service (SaaS) that can be easily scaled to meet your current and future business needs.
- Improved market response: Many SaaS applications integrate easily, allowing you to respond to market needs and make changes quickly and cost effectively.
- Enhanced collaboration: When systems are co-ordinated across the business, data analysis becomes easier and market data more accurate.
- Increased sales: A cohesive strategy that runs across all marketing channels makes it easy for customers to recommend you and encourage exponential growth.
- Improved customer loyalty: You can increase customer retention using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and social media to build long term relationships.
- Better customer service: You can also use CRM reports and analysis to plan marketing campaigns and deliver enhanced customer support and services.
- Smarter choices: Virtual, rather than face to face meetings allows you to minimise costs, reduce fuel consumption and win back lost travel time.
- Easier maintenance and upgrades: Cloud providers have full responsibility for maintaining and upgrading your software to the latest version. No longer do you need to worry about being out of date or spend time installing updates.
For small businesses the recommendation is to start cloud computing slowly; choose one or two of your business applications to replace and see how it goes. Once you are comfortable that it is bringing benefits then you can evaluate additional cloud applications and advantages.
For advice and guidance on transferring to the cloud, visit Superfast Business Wales.