Using cloud technology to change your business
For most professional services organizations, managing massive fluctuations in business cycles is a way of life. Think about the accountant’s office who must manage most of their client’s returns at tax time or a marketing consultant who just landed a big contract with a new client and needs to hit the ground running. By contrast, summer vacations and the winter holiday season can represent a dramatic lull in activity for many small service organizations when their clients are out of the office. These volatile peaks and valleys of activity can be challenging for any business, because no one can afford to pay for more resources than their business demands at any given moment.
What all these professional services businesses want is maximum ‘elasticity’ to respond to the ebb and flow of their business, particularly in their IT environments. This is one of the benefits of cloud computing for a smaller organization; it has the ability to scale both up and down automatically in accordance with the immediate needs of the business. Just like a water or electricity utility, a company only pays for what it uses.
Here are three common professional services scenarios which show the benefits of the cloud for a business owner:
Responding to a Sudden Influx of Work – Small businesses need to respond quickly when an opportunity presents itself such as onboarding a new client or tackling a new project. Cloud computing can meet these increasing demands in real-time without the burden of purchasing and deploying new software. In addition, it provides new levels of productivity to remote workers or contractors, allowing them to access the system from any location, at any time.
Paying for Idle IT Investments – When demands for a small business wane, a large portion of the workload and subsequent revenue is reduced. In a traditional IT model, small professional services companies would still need to pay for the ten servers or 500 software licenses they purchased, for example, to accommodate business needs during the busiest months of the year. This costly situation does not exist in a cloud based model where a business can scale its IT capacity up and down according to real-time needs
Difficulty Managing Complex IT Demands – Let’s face it, managing an IT infrastructure can be both complicated and time consuming, especially if it’s not your ‘day job.’ Cloud computing can liberate business owners by removing IT burdens such as upgrading software, addressing integration issues and optimizing performance of the network. It frees up more time to allow business professionals to focus on what they do best – servicing their clients – not managing IT.
Operating a small business is not an endeavor for the faint-hearted. Most service professionals who have hung their own shingle will tell you that the only thing constant is change; what happened in the previous quarter does not dictate the needs of the next one. This perpetual state of flux is the primary reason that so many small businesses are moving to the cloud and also the reason the cloud will become a necessity – not an option – for small businesses in the future.