Cloud computing represents the most significant step in the streamlining of everyday office environment tasks since email and the computer itself. Mundane and time-consuming jobs can now be sped up or even completely accomplished by cloud software. Best of all, the cloud removes many of the obstacles to progress typically faced by groups of coworkers collaborating on a project.
Thanks to the increase in productivity the cloud allows and the smaller investment in servers required, cloud computing can save small businesses a significant amount, comparative to what they might have paid for the same functionality using traditional hardware just a few years ago.
Interested in stashing away some extra cash for your company this year? Here are some convincing reasons to make the jump to cloud computing:
1. Smaller Upfront Investment
Whereas setting up file management systems once required purchasing bulky, expensive servers and hardware, the cloud transfers these duties to a remote server. The advantages of this range from opening up space in your office to providing an insured back-up of your data. There’s a significantly reduced risk of losing everything in the event of a natural disaster, because your data is stored and backed up across remote servers.
The greatest benefit may be the pay-as-you-go model that most cloud providers offer. Instead of purchasing your own servers and having to guess and plan ahead for your growth, you pay only for the amount of space and bandwidth that your company needs today.
2. Lower Energy Bills
When the U.S. General Services Administration switched their 17,000 users from physical servers to a cloud system, they cut their energy use by 90 percent (not to mention reducing their carbon emissions). The GSA estimates that the move will reduce its annual energy bill by about $285,000.
You don’t need to have thousands of employees to see major savings. If your company is big enough to warrant its own server already, you’ll spend a chunk of change each month keeping those machines running 24/7. Why not trade them in and let someone else pay the bill? Cloud providers generally use systems that are designed to efficiently cool themselves and maximize the energy they use.
3. Maximize Worker Productivity
Employees aren’t paid to waste time, although that ends up being the case in many office environments. Think about your own history with shared projects. Did you email a document back-and-forth between coworkers for input? Perhaps you still print out a copy and physically pass it around?
Cloud networks streamline this process, creating a central database that all pertinent parties have access to. Instead of waiting on someone else to check their email and make revisions to a document, it’s live in the cloud, where everyone who needs to can make changes in real-time that are visible to everyone.
This sort of usefulness has already made its way to personal users, in the form of applications like Dropbox and Google Drive. Its pertinence in an office environment is astounding.
4. Put Busy Work on Autopilot
If you’re a company owner or manager, how much time do you spend each month checking over payroll, invoicing and other spreadsheets that need constant updating?
With a cloud system, many of these tasks can be automated and streamlined. Employees can post their own timesheets and calendars where everyone who needs it has visible access. By taking the mundane responsibilities of running a business and making them easier, we free up more time for creative pursuits to grow and enrich our businesses.
5. Free Yourself
In the end, time is money, right? By switching to a cloud system, you can access your company’s database anywhere in the world, using your laptop or mobile device. Why chain yourself to an office because that’s where your server is? There are few things as rewarding as closing a deal or submitting a winning proposal from beside the pool in an exotic locale.
Has your business switched over to the cloud? If so, what other ways have you found that it saves you money?
Sue Poremba blogs for Rackspace Hosting. Rackspace Hosting is the service leader in cloud computing, and a founder of OpenStack, an open source cloud operating system. The San Antonio-based company provides Fanatical Support to its customers and partners, across a portfolio of IT services, including Managed Hosting and Cloud Computing.