Many assume it’s complex, costly and requires skilled IT professionals to make it happen, but the reality is it can be easy to adopt the cloud, and many businesses may even already be on this journey without realizing.
Common programs like Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Salesforce are all rooted in cloud technologies, and these solutions have been quickly adopted by companies that have embraced the efficiency and productivity boost they enable.
Even though cloud computing seems to surround us, a report on Canadian SMBs revealed that only half are using it. Cloud apps and solutions are poised to address the needs of SMBs; here are some of the benefits:
- Easy to use: Most cloud systems are designed to be used easily and intuitively by employees. This means they are easier to adopt and start using, with minimal investment in training and less of a learning curve.
- Greater accessibility: One of the biggest benefits of cloud solutions is the ability to access information from anywhere, rather than just from one computer. This offers greater flexibility, so a small business owner can work remotely and still access all information and applications they need while on-the-go. For example, business owners and employees can track business travel expenses from anywhere with cloud software like Concur’s Travel and Expense solutions. In addition, Concur’s mobile app means employees can snap photos of receipts and enter them into an expense report without needing to use a computer or printer.
- Flexible pricing: A study of Canadian SMBs revealed that only 46 per cent felt that best-in-class IT tools were as accessible to SMBs as they were to larger firms. However, cloud technologies now offer small businesses the opportunity to access solutions and expertise that previously would have been too expensive to make it worthwhile. Most cloud-based solutions, including Concur, offer flexible pricing models that can be scaled up or down depending on the size of the company. Concur’s cloud-based travel, expense and invoicing tools are available for, and used by, businesses big and small to automate and save costs on typically cumbersome processes.
- Data Security: Many companies worry that storing data on external servers creates risk, however, it can actually protect your data in ways you may not have considered. Data stored on a laptop or mobile device is at risk if that device is lost or stolen. If that data is housed in the cloud, however, it isn’t lost with the missing device. It can still be accessed through a new device with your log-in credentials. Companies who have adopted the cloud overwhelmingly agree — according to Microsoft, 94 per cent of small businesses reports security benefits since moving to the cloud.
- Low IT investment: For SMBs wary of spending too much on IT, cloud computing offers a highly effective alternative. Service and updates are managed by the cloud solution provider, meaning businesses spend less on their own IT needs. In addition, many cloud solutions are easy to set up and roll out, so IT doesn’t always need to be involved as deeply as other technology changes.
While many business owners struggle to let go of legacy operating models, the benefits and cost savings offered by cloud computing are unparalleled. According to a Microsoft SMB Study, 78 per cent of small businesses will have adopted cloud computing by 2020. Your business should be one of them.
Brian Veloso, is director of SMB at Concur Canada
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