When balancing business and lifestyle, SMEs want to be able to work anywhere at any time, with efficiency. They are constantly in search of cost-effective ways to become more flexible, well-connected and productive so they can get more done, fast.
This is now possible with cloud services, mobile technology and automation applications all at your fingertips. But adopting new ways of working can seem daunting. What is the cloud? How secure is company data if employees work remotely? What sorts of systems improve efficiencies?
BlackBerry managing director Australia and New Zealand Matthew Ball spoke at a recent SmartCompany webinar about mobility and automation, giving tips on how you can improve processes:
What is the cloud and how does it work?
A lot of people have their own interpretation of the cloud, which can cause confusion, says Ball: “Essentially, the cloud means on-demand access to computing resources and applications that you use on a daily basis. This could be Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, your mobility management or databases and information storage. Anything you’re using from a business perspective can be stored in what is known as the cloud.”
Much like an electricity grid over a network, the cloud relies on the sharing of resources, enabling on-demand access to computing resources. The benefit for SMEs is an uptake in the level of small businesses starting to use cloud-based computing. It gives them big business storage, and big business application and technology, but without the big business price tag, he says.
Should I be concerned about the cloud?
Politicians and tech experts are urging small business to adopt cloud computing, but the uptake rate can be impacted by users who have concerns about what exactly they would be buying and where data centres are located.
“Historically, if I was a medium-sized business I might have had a firm that I can go and check in on. Now we’re transitioning into storing information in something that can’t be seen.”
How to upgrade to the cloud
“There are a lot of cloud providers that offer cloud technology, and some offer it in a monthly billing cycle, or in an on-demand charging methodology,” says Ball.
This represents a cheaper alternative that grants SMEs access to applications and software they otherwise would not have been in a position to spend the money on otherwise.
A cloud solution should be able to provide businesses with access to products that would have been very expensive if they were looking to purchase and have information stored in a server on their premises, says Ball.
As with all technology, when you decide to make the move it’s critical to get the business strategy right.
“What do you want to do with your workforce, your sales team, your business operations, and how ideally do you want to work? Chances are there is a technical solution to enable you to do exactly what they want.”