Some organisations have still not fully embraced the cloud.
Whatever the reasons, critics agree there are a range of business benefits to be gained from using cloud software and services, such as:
- Reduced management overheads
- Greater flexibility and scalability
- Opportunities for new, more efficient ways of working
- Potential cost and time savings
If you haven’t yet moved over to using cloud-based software, hardware or other services, this article will explain how the cloud can deliver new efficiencies for your business.
What is ‘the cloud’?
In general, ‘the cloud’ (also referred to as cloud computing) means servers, software, systems, networks and services that instead of being ‘on premise’ (i.e. housed within your own office), are located in secure networked facilities in remote locations. Office365, Zetadocs Expenses, Dropbox and SalesForce are all good examples of cloud-based software – or at least software where a strong cloud offering is available.
Because users connect over the internet and WiFi to cloud-based systems from their computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, these systems can typically be accessed from anywhere at any time, whether on the go, at home or in the office.
Reduced management overhead
By definition then, organizations are mostly absolved of the requirement to manage the hosting hardware on which cloud solutions and software systems run. Indeed, the management and updating of these systems is also – in general – carried out seamlessly by the provider.
For example, Zetadocs Expenses is a cloud-based expense management system which is kept up to date and managed by Equisys as the vendor. Updates are pushed out to users, for whom the update experience is seamless.
Flexibility and scalability
Cloud applications offer flexibility to businesses because new user licenses can be added quickly, as needed (and removed, as needed), depending on the payment plan you have opted for.
As the business grows, new features can be enabled, new users added, and more storage capacity provided (if appropriate).
Opportunities for new ways of working
Cloud applications offer all organisations new ways of working because, for example, they are available any time and in any place to users (via either WiFi or fixed internet access).
They also enable new practices and processes. For example, Zetadocs Expenses enables traveling business executives to avoid retaining paper expense receipts and instead to capture and submit expense claims on the go. Similar paperless expense process improvements are also delivered to the office-based finance team.
The main saving offered by cloud solutions is the capital cost of server hardware. Applications are hosted by the software vendor in the cloud instead of needing to be installed and managed on site.
This means that rather than facing the cost of capital investment in servers and other hosting hardware, organisations simply pay for ‘access’ to the software via the cloud and use it on an as-needed basis on their device of choice.
So there you have it, we hope this article unravels the mystery of the cloud.