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Riding together: The Cloud and small business
Cloud computing for small business is the provision of business data and applications from anywhere, and at any time, across multiple mobile devices.
So how can this help a small business, particularly when many of them struggle with IT issues?
One of the problems is that these businesses are often too small to have their own “IT Guy” and often it is just too expensive to hire an IT specialist to do the work for them. They may have had to rely on old unreliable equipment and the help of an employee’s nephew that was taking IT classes. They also did not typically have the proper infrastructure in place to manage servers and other IT equipment.
Cloud computing now offers these small businesses a multitude of new options to tackle many of these IT issues and provide new services that were previously unavailable. Some of the most common services are hosted email, file storage, SaaS solutions for ERP, and point of sale applications.
The cost of Cloud computing is very reasonable compared to the cost of hosting servers in-house.
A good ride: Bcyclet
A good example of how a typical small business uses the Cloud to manage their IT is Bcyclet. They are a cycling shop providing high-end bikes and bike rentals located in Plan-Les-Ouates, Geneva.
Bcyclet operates from several locations and relies on the information they need being available from any device or location.
“The cloud has given us a definite advantage as we are working from different locations and can access our data from anywhere” Thomas Berquez
Co-Owner Thomas Berquez uses several different Cloud-based services for his company’s IT needs. In particular, they utilize email on the Cloud, file storage with Google drive, and website management with local cloud provider Infomaniak. They also manage typical bike shop functions through a Saas cloud solution called G8 from Futurosoft – with which they handle rentals, invoicing, finance, and their customer database among other things.
Riding towards efficiency and business growth
Typically, a small business navigates through three phases; start-up, rapid growth, and maturity. Cloud computing helps small businesses through these cycles of growth and gives them the flexibility to navigate through each stage of development.
Cloud computing for small businesses will continue to develop and expand, especially as more SaaS applications are introduced.
Additionally, the advancements of broadband internet and mobile technologies have increased the rate of adoption of Cloud technologies. The advantages of Cloud computing for small businesses are vast and provide the same advantages enjoyed by much larger companies.
Overall, the Cloud allows small businesses to play on a level playing field with these bigger companies.
How the Cloud can save time and money
- Lower need for IT staff – companies can utilize the expertise of the Cloud provider instead of relying on their own staff
- Hardware costs – when IT is done in the Cloud companies do not have to house and maintain expensive servers. This also saves on upfront costs by not having to buy servers and other computer hardware.
- Automatic Updates – Cloud services are regularly updated by the provider thus saving you valuable time to manage software updates and upgrades to the latest features.
- Pay for what you need – with Cloud computing you only need to pay for the resources actually needed when you need them.
- Expansion – easier and faster to add users and helps save time scaling up.
We would like to thank Thomas Berquez at Bcyclet for taking the time to speak to GBN.