Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

How the cloud is reshaping small business productivity

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Guest post by Shyamal Parikh

According to a research by Cisco, cloud data centers will process 94% of workloads by 2021.

Businesses are changing the way they work. With the advent of superior technology like cloud computing, this change becomes even more imperative if companies are to compete strongly in a marketplace where differentiating factors between competitors are slowly decreasing.

Cloud-reshaping-small-bus

But why are small businesses that are often resistant to change, all of a sudden want to adapt cloud computing in their workplace? Let’s look at the five most pressing reasons for doing so.

  1.     No more data storage issues:

Gone are the days when companies bought number of hardware devices to store all their data. The moment it is full, they need to run to contact their IT support provider. Or the moment the server gets overloaded, business functions come to a stop.

Handling this also requires significant amount of physical space that needs to be maintained and checked every now and then.

By adopting cloud-based services, companies no longer have to worry about their storage. And what’s more? They save a significant amount of costs that go to the IT support provider, in handling those hardware devices, its storage and its maintenance costs.

  1.     Reliable and secure:

Toyota is using Microsoft cloud-based services to host apps that connect the car to social media platforms and reward eco-points for using an electric vehicle. This gives us a picture of how secure these services are as turning a car into a connected device isn’t a small decision and could be quite risky.

While security issues did crop up in the beginning, cloud providers had to stand up to the rising demand and improve on this aspect. For small sized companies, the security that cloud service providers like Google, Amazon and Microsoft provide is far resistant to hacking and the latest cyber-threats than what the local servers can provide.

  1.     Better collaborative tools

In the recent years, many cloud-based products came into the market that make work easy and cost-effective for small businesses. For example, with Google docs, you no longer need to contact your colleague to verify which the latest version of any document is. All the changes can be made into it by multiple people and that history can be looked into at any time. With several cloud-based software, online team meetings are conducted easily. Even in the field of accounting, cloud-based tools make it easier to generate online invoices as per the requirements of the client.

Project management for every company, big or small has become easier with cloud-based software taking care of everything from project scope, project scheduling to project portfolio management.

With such cloud-based tools, collaborating has become much easier, effective and convenient which leads to a more productive and engaged workforce.

  1.     Flexible working opportunities:

With headquarters and branches situated all across the world, cloud makes working round the clock easier. As everything is stored on the cloud and not on someone’s personal computer, you don’t have to call or mail someone to ask for a document or a datasheet.

According to a study, 70% of people work remotely at least once a week while 53% work remotely for at least half a week. These statistics are an indication of how remote work is not just a fad; it’s here to stay.

In light of this, cloud-based services and tools allow such workers to work at their own time and convenience. It lets them stay updated with the tasks, client communications and meetings even when they’re not at the office.

This also enables small businesses to save costs by hiring more remote workers and part-timers.

  1.     Easily scalable:

No longer do you have to worry about purchasing more space to expand your current operations. Instead, you just need to contact your cloud provider. All other things will be taken care of by them.

This also means that if you want to lower down your usage or operations because of some reason, you can easily do so. You don’t have to worry about what to do with all that hardware.

The other advantage with utilizing cloud services is that if you feel that particular service provider doesn’t match your expectations, you can cancel the service and work out with some other as it normally runs on monthly or yearly payments.

Conclusion:

While these are just five reasons for adopting cloud services, there are a multitude of other advantages that it brings like better customer support, avoiding losing your data, regular backups, improved operations, increased efficiency and reduced costs.

All these when added up makes work easy for your employees which ultimately leads them to being more productive and engaged.

As Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce says, “If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down with definitions. I tell them that, in simple terms, cloud computing is a better way to run your business.”

Questions: How is the cloud changing your business? What products or services are you planning to move to the cloud? Please leave a comment in the space below.

Shyamal Parikh is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that’s helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who’s doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team’s productivity.


The Product Management Perspective: Most product managers are working with cloud products these days; if not developing them, certainly using them. If you’re not building to the cloud you need to take a hard look at why and consider what opportunities you’re missing.

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