Today’s CEOs, presidents, business owners and managers face a tough challenge in today’s economic times. The cost of doing business is increasing, while customers are demanding lower prices, not to mention the opening up of borders have made it difficult for domestic companies to compete with cheap labor abroad. These are hard times ahead, and navigating these waters will require a varying set of skills, and more importantly, innate qualities that will help these leaders and their companies survive.
In the previous parts, we talked about the basics of cloud computing and how it can affect your operations. So now, in the final part of our series, we want to look at the big picture - over-all, how does the cloud affect your entire business, not just your day-to-day operations? Cloud computing doesn’t just make an impact on individual departments or employees of any business. It affects the way you do business, your clients, your competitors, and yes, even your entire industry. Seeing the big picture of the advantages of cloud computing is essential, to fully comprehend how cloud computing can give you a competitive advantage and allow you to innovate and improve your products and services.
Use of Data
Cloud computing isn’t just about taking data and storing it somewhere else - that’s just the first part. Rather, the next (and equally important) part is how you access it. The data we get from our day-to-day operations - sales reports, contacts, surveys, research - are just numbers, letters, and charts up until someone else accesses it and turns it into information. For example, when your sales team uploads a new order into your system, your manufacturing team can quickly access the essential data they need to start up the order. If you’re in a meeting and your client wants to know where their shipment is, you can access your shipping software from your smartphone and track the order for them. When you can have your business work on the cloud and your team can get the data they need to do their job, then that is where cloud computing really gives you an edge in business.
The Role of IT
In many (if not all) companies, the IT department serves as troubleshooting or technical helpdesk department. Every little bug, virus, email hiccup or hardware problem - that’s when we call the IT Department. However, isn’t it counterproductive to have an entire department devoted to things that should just work in the first place? Not to say that cloud computing is perfect and t will eliminate the IT Department; what fundamentally can and should happen is the shifting of IT from support to an actual business arm of the company. The IT Department should work on how it can generate income for the company, improve its services, and where they can help you cut down on costs. They should be the one to lead innovation, and not just the guys you call when your computer screen turns blue.
Create More Opportunities
Previously, we’ve mentioned that because you don’t have to worry about your IT networks, then you can fully concentrate on your core competencies and serving clients. However, companies who want to truly take advantage of all these freed-up resources should also pour them into improving their services, finding new streams of revenue and fueling innovation. Many new ideas have a hard time getting off the ground because of limitations of budget and personnel. Many businesses have had to sacrifice trying new things because they cannot afford the risk of pouring capital into viable ideas that may or may not be successful.
For example, when in comes to manufacturing, many experts say that the only way we could compete with cheap labor overseas is through innovation. Small-scale manufacturing, real-time data and tracking, integrated 3-D simulation, nanotechnology are just some examples of the technologies American manufacturing companies need to work on to compete in the global market. Cloud computing can allow manufacturers a low-risk route to trying out new things, and perhaps eventually revolutionize and transform the manufacturing industry.
If you’re seriously thinking of shifting part or all of your networks into the cloud, it’s important you not only see the short-term and monetary benefits, but the big picture as well. Having a myopic view might make you miss out on the over-all and long-reaching benefits of cloud computing.
Cloud computing has been an ubiquitous term thrown around the past couple of years. One of the great things about this new technology is that cloud computing, from San Diego to Sao Paolo essentially means the same thing - that is, moving your software and other computing processes to a shared network, accessed over the Internet. For many small business owners in California (or anywhere), these two words seem almost intimidating. While many can easily understand what it is about, few realize its benefits beyond the bottom line. So, for small businesses considering a move to cloud computing, here are some key ways that it may help you get ahead of your competition.