We are in very exciting times for small business. SMB’s who embrace the cloud and all it offers them, will benefit greatly and be infinitely more profitable than their competitors in more ways than one.
For most small businesses, employing staff is a costly exercise. Often the employee’s only tools, their computer and desk, are an after thought. Provided with ageing equipment and expired software is not conducive to high productivity levels. Most employers miss the mark here and fail to see the advantages gained by implementing new computers with modern software. The software costs alone usually outweigh the hardware costs, so most SMB’s won’t upgrade if they don’t have to.
By adopting a suitable Cloud solution, scaling up or down staff numbers could be as simple as a small increase on a monthly rental fee. The employee is mobile and productive from day one without the need for an IT Administrator to have spent many hours configuring a workstation.
The employee is happier working on the latest software versions they have been trained on and are instantly on their game. In fact, cloud is the perfect environment for clever business owners to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Many studies show that BYOD produces happier staff. Why not show you are modern and flexible and implement a salary sacrifice or employee device rental scheme that enables staff to purchase and own their own devices? It keeps the staff happy and lowers your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). No software or data is loaded actually on the staff members device hence lowering security risks of the employee owning the gadget of their choice to work on.
Another bug bear for small businesses perhaps already struggling with keeping margins competitive and still showing the Balance Sheet in the black, is software upgrades.
Keeping software up to date is expensive. Not only the physical cost of purchasing the upgrades or maintaining multiple software subscriptions, but the added cost of either an after hours IT visit, or facing the prospect of having your work force down for a couple of hours to a day whilst the upgrades are performed. Both of these situations drive costs through the roof and are less than desireable.
By operating in the cloud, small business can sigh the sweet sound of relief. Updates are pushed out by the cloud vendor while the SMB and its staff are at home fast asleep. Staff arrive in the morning, and just work.
For many years, SMB’s just couldn’t compete with their larger, more agile, ERP equipped competitors.
Even a couple of years ago, the thought of an SMB mobilising its workforce on iPads, or introducing a real BYOD policy would have been simply a pipe dream.
Today, through SMB speciality cloud vendors such as Reckon Limited, with their QuickBooks and growing Hosted range of products, sales force mobilisation, online warehouses and working from literally anywhere in the world are a reality; and are allowing the more savvy SMB’s to operate on the same turf previously occupied only by the SAP and Netsuite boys.
CLOUD FOR PROFIT
Many small business owners are facing increasing pressures to their bottom lines, from fluctuating currencies, to squeezing margins and employee expectations and loyalty.
Now is the time for small business to adopt the cloud and embrace all it offers as a tool for Growth, Flexibility and ultimately – Profit.
About the author
Nathan Elcoate is a Small Business IT Specialist Consultant, based in Southport, Queensland, Australia.
With over 20 years in Operational Accounting and IT Support and Domain Admin, Nathan is now Director of Axis IT Consulting Pty Ltd, a boutique Accounting Software consultancy firm that is part of the RWG Accountants & Advisors Group.