This is the first in a multi-part series providing ideas and guidance for companies looking to modernize their business with cloud and mobile solutions.
For many small business owners, it is easy to put off technology decisions for more pressing day to day matters. Sometimes, however, “If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it!” can do more harm than good. Outdated IT slows you down and costs you money in lost productivity and missed opportunities. Your technology also sends a message to your customers about how well your business can serve theirs. In today’s cloud and mobile world, your small business has affordable access to the same caliber tools and services as large enterprises. If your business is not taking advantage of the close and mobility, your competition is and you are falling behind.
Go Big or Go Home?
Moving to the cloud does not need to be an “all or nothing” proposition. Most small businesses start with email and move on to file sharing/collaboration. Business apps, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Accounting can also be good places to start, delivering a high return and value for the migration effort and spend.
For some, going cloud and mobile is easiest to accomplish with the latest version of tools and software that you already use. For others, moving to the cloud and mobile is an opportunity to change the way your team works, so moving your team to new tools is best.
Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365?
This is the question we are asked most often by fellow small business owners and IT leaders. Google Apps or Office 365?
Our answer is: YES.
We are not saying your choice doesn’t matter. We are saying that Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 fit different businesses differently. Microsoft Office 365 extends the Microsoft Office ecosystem with collaboration, communication, and data/information tools that will never exist in your desktop version of Office. Google Apps integrates broadly with most of the newer, cloud and mobile first tools preferred by small business. And, we have five ways to integrate your MS Office desktop software with Google Apps, so you don’t need to abandon the tools you already know.
Both ecosystems help you get stuff done faster, communicate more efficiently, and make mobility easier. Which solution is best for you depends on a factors ranging from where your team works and how you want to improve communications and collaboration to which line of business systems are critical to your success. By looking at your full IT environment, you can pick the cloud productivity platform and other cloud services that make the most sense, and delivery the greatest return.
Footprints, Workloads, and Clouds
Beyond your basic productivity suite (email, documents, spreadsheets, files, etc) and collaboration tools (voice, chat, conferencing, document sharing), more small businesses are moving other workloads from their on premise footprint into the cloud. Do not get flustered by the jargon! Workloads are simply applications or data processing; your footprint is the physical IT systems you use; and the cloud is, well, any cloud or hosted service where you can run your workloads.
For small businesses like yours, moving other applications into the cloud will improve security and reliability, offer better business continuity, and mitigate or lower costs. And while some applications don’t have a cloud version you can use (i.e., Quickbooks Online lacks features and reports most of our costomers want or need), you can move those systems onto cloud server with remote desktop access.
We All Have Our Job to Do
Your job is your business and serving your customers. Our job is to make sure your IT helps you do your job better and more efficiently.
Talk to us about your business, your goals, objectives, and priorities. Challenge us to find ways to help you reach your goals. We will bring our vision, enthusiasm, expertise, experience, and pragmatism, along with our commitment to either add value, or get out of the way.
Complete the form; let’s start the conversation!