What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing Service Providers | Cloud Computing Consultants Hawaii I am often asked how cloud computing can improve a company’s operations. Most business owners have heard all the buzzwords and they sense they need to do something sooner rather than later. They are just unclear about what they should do and how they should implement it. Interestingly, the migration to cloud based solutions is being driven more by CEOs and CFOs than by organizations’ traditional IT departments. This means there’s a bit of a learning curve for the execs, but it also means the decision cycle is focused more on ROI, return on investment. What will it cost? And what will I get? We moved SuperGeeks to purely cloud based solutions over the last two years. It’s been a relatively straightforward process that has brought us so many advantages. In fact, I can’t imagine ever going back to the way we used to do things. Like most companies, we had a server. Our files sat on that server everything from email to Word docs to accounting software. If the server was up and running, the company was up and running. And every three years or so we would spend five thousand dollars to replace the server and upgrade the software. The server was the hub of our day to day operations and as a result all of our activities were conducted in close proximity of it. As internet connectivity become cheaper and more reliable, many of the things that we assumed needed to be handled by the server could now be done through a browser. The first to go was the accounting. We simply moved it to an online version of the software. This meant the bookkeeper no longer had to come to the office to reconcile the books. It also meant our field techs could create invoices and collect payment on-site. The immediate benefits were stronger cash flow and more accurate financial reporting. The phone system was the next thing to get nuked. We had one of those crazy expensive centric systems that came with a contract. In other words, we had to pay $700 per month for a technology that really didn’t adapt well to our changing needs. And we were locked into a multi year contract! By moving the telecommunications to a web based system, we could scale quickly and inexpensively, plus we could leverage neat features like routing calls on the fly and automatically converting voicemail messages to emails. The final phase in our transition to cloud computing entailed moving all our productivity functions to Google Apps for Business. We were using web based email and Google Docs for several years, but we weren’t taking full advantage of a complete, web based solution. In their never ending battle with Microsoft, Google created a suite of software that works exactly like Microsoft Office except Google’s solution was web based, while Microsoft’s traditional solution sat on a hard drive, i.e. your company’s server. By creating a comprehensive set of productivity tools like word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and calendaring, Google were able to say, “Hey, you don’t need to spend all that money on Microsoft servers and software. Just do everything you normally do online with Google Apps for Business. It’s faster, better, cheaper.” And it is infinitely better. Let me share with you how it’s changed the way we work. First, all docs are now stored online. We don’t have to worry about backups and disaster recovery. And because everything is shared online with the right team member, each of us has access the most recent version of the file. No more hunting for the correct version on someone’s hard drive. The online version is the right one. Google’s solution also takes care of our calendaring and email. Because Google’s spam filter is one of the best in the world, we now receive less spam than before. And because it’s so easy to add and remove users, we can set up new hires in minutes. Likewise, we can turn off someone’s access to email, docs, etc. with just a click of the button. The ease of scaling up and down like that boosts operational efficiency while safeguarding our company’s data. Perhaps the most powerful feature of cloud based solutions is the ability to transform your business into a truly mobile operation. By untethering your company from the server, you can now decentralize your office. The right people can now get immediate access to the right information regardless of where they are, the time of day, and the device they are using. Need to check your calendar from your smart phone? No problem. Want to update a file after the kids go to bed? Done. Now, if we could only get internet access on those long trans Pacific flights…then we could do everything from the sky.
Author Bio: JAMES KERR, Founder and Chief Geek of SuperGeeks. Mr. Kerr’s tech tips help businesses improve efficiencies and boost sales. Learn how your company can leverage search engine marketing. Visit at SuperGeeks .