Procurement 27 January 2017

Ten reasons why the cloud can enhance your business performance

cloud tech
Embracing cloud technology could benefit your business
When it comes to software and managing your data, the cloud can give your small business all sorts of operational and financial advantages, writes Chief Marketing Officer at 9 Spokes, Simon Atkins.?

it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand when people mention the cloud. Perhaps it’s the name it sounds vague, out of reach and not particularly secure. Funnily enough, the exact opposite is true.

The cloud is an exciting game changer for small businesses, and it enables the delivery of real-time valuable information to company owners easily, quickly and securely.

The software market is mature in the UK and there are apps to carry out almost every business function, so small business owners now have the option to manage their entire business in the cloud. With this holistic view of business, you can make data-driven decisions to optimise your performance.

Here, weve put together ten top benefits of using the cloud:

(1) Be instantly in the know

With real-time access to your business data, there’s no need for guesswork around performance. Say goodbye to shuffling through old sheets of paper instead of searching pockets for that lost receipt, you can instantly take photos and log your receipts with cloud apps such as Expensify.

(2) Understand your business better

With all your data accessible on the go and options to have it together in one place, you can easily monitor past and current trends, to plan ahead for the future. Managing your business finances in the cloud with an accounting app can help you keep an eye on your current cash position, balance future income and outgoings and assess your long term business health.

QuickBooks, Sage One and FreeAgent are great examples of accounting apps specialised for small businesses.

(3) Have up-to-date software

Desktop IT programmes and software can rely on manual and expensive updates, meaning that the long term cost of keeping your software fresh could be higher than expected.

Cloud software is flexible and most apps automatically update as part of their subscription model as they improve over time. This means you don’t have to worry about having outdated software or unexpectedly forking out for more functionality.

(4) Communicate better

The cloud also enables real-time data sharing across members of your team and business advisors. Whether you are sharing important financial data with your accountant or partners, or simply making your shift roster available to staff, cloud data sharing can streamline your business.

Deputy is a good example of an online people management tool which allows you to monitor and manage staff leave, rostering and availability, saving you time and keeping your people in the know.

(5) Be more efficient

Automating your basic business processes can significantly improve your efficiency and reduce workload. For example, automating your sales reporting and linking it in with your accounting software can save a huge amount of time when reconciling sales and cash flow at the end of the business day.

A lot of software has industry specific functionality. If you are a retailer, there are specialist cloud apps such as Vend, Kounta and Shopify that can automatically feed your sales data into your accounting application, eliminating the need to reconcile or input this data manually.

(6) More security

With all your data encrypted and backed-up in the cloud, you won’t need to worry about lost laptops or hard drives again. You can even manage data remotely, so if a laptop does go missing, you can wipe it and be sure your data is safe.

If you are selecting new cloud software, you can also ask for evidence of a supplier’s cyber security measures and standards, such as their?PCI DSS, ISO27001or?Cyber Essentialscertificates.

(7) Reduce your carbon footprint