Taking your IT services into the cloud can have some great benefits for growing companies, by keeping your costs low and your tech nimble.
As well as making sense for your bottom line, using cloud-based platforms can help to improve the working culture in your business. For example, online apps make a lot of sense if your company wants to support flexible and remote working.
Let’s quickly make the business case for cloud-based tech, and explore how it can have a positive impact on your people and culture.
Why is the cloud a good tech solution?
When you look at plus points of cloud tech, there are a few main benefits to adoption:
- Effective cost control. Most cloud tech is usage-based, in some shape or form. You pay for what you need, give or take. As your business expands you can easily scale up, and if things go in the other direction, quickly reduce capacity and costs.
- Low initial outlay. Using off-the-shelf software used to be a big investment upfront, but paying a monthly subscription for the same package – think Office 2019 vs Office 365 – keeps costs manageable.
- Data harmony. Any project manager knows the pain of picking through myriad documents with different version numbers. Using cloud-based document solutions means that everyone can work off one file and the end product is simple and clear.
- Security and integrity. Going on to the cloud means you should be able to ensure the security of your data, although be sure to check the contract about who’s responsible for data breaches. Your staff aren’t going to be storing client data locally so a lost laptop isn’t going to be the end of the world and a virus on the office hardware isn’t going wipe months of work.
These benefits can allow a small company looking to make waves very agile. With your initial costs being lower, you can focus on going after market share with your cash on hand rather than buying a new server stack or software license as your team grows.
The cloud and flexible working
As well as the cost benefits, that are likely the number one reason to do anything, using cloud systems and SaaS packages can help you transform your operating model.
Responding to a request for flexible working is a legal requirement in the UK, but you can get ahead of the curve and give options such as…
- Compressed hours
- Remote working
And using cloud technology will support these choices.
One of the biggest challenges when moving towards flexible working can be managing workflow and goals of the team. Especially when you have colleagues working from home or outside of typical office hours, you want to make sure that they are still maintaining levels of productivity.
There are cloud-based packages that allows your staff to log what they’re working on, submit their work, and even monitor their keystroke rate, should you require that level of oversight.
This should allow you to build trust with your team when you can see that they’re still doing what they’re supposed to, though obviously there’s a fine line here. Trust flows in two directions.
When your team are in different sites and working different hours, you need to know that everyone is up to speed. Rather than trawling through emails to find the right attachment, everyone working on a project can log into a system like Office 365 or Google Drive and see a master document.
This also means that your team don’t work in their own little silo. With multiple people working on a document it will also encourage them to collaborate at every step of the process rather than waiting for tomorrow’s scheduled conference call to pitch in on an idea.
Will the cloud affect company culture?
Bringing in flexible working has myriad benefits for your company, among them:
- A more engaged workforce
- Higher productivity
- A culture of trust
- Lower costs
And cloud-based solutions can support these aims.
Workflow management systems will allow you to build a relationship of trust with your staff. You will know that they are doing their work and they are likely to perform better to show you that the trust is well placed. With documents being held in one place everyone can also see that they’re being listened to in a shared project.
As well as managing logistics, cloud systems remove a lot of hassles from a growing business. There are less IT issues to manage and you have access to top-spec software without the top-level price tag. Removing this issue will give you chance to be disruptive. The playing field is levelled when all you need to work with your team is an internet connection, plus creativity, and drive.
Cloud computing can also support your eco-credentials. Because you can scale down, as well as scale up, your server use, you can manage the amount of energy you’re using better. It might not affect your energy bills, but it is still ensuring your company is only using as many resources as it needs.
Cloud based systems is basically a way of outsourcing a chunk of your IT requirements. Storing your data offsite, as well as using tools that update everyone in real time through cloud systems, can make your business more agile – allowing for more collaboration and communication.
Offering flexible working is a great aim for every company to work towards. By taking advantage of SaaS tools like workflow managers and document sharing you can preserve productivity levels, and even boost output with a more engaged workforce.