How New Businesses Can Benefit from Cloud Computing
So you’ve decided to start a new business. Congratulations! You’ve got a business plan, a great idea, and all the excitement and energy you need to get started, and that is a great place to be. Now you just need to start getting your back-end support processes in place: you know, all those things you need to run the business, like an email system, a portal, a website, CRM, etc. etc. What’s that? You don’t have an IT department, and cannot afford to buy servers? Not to worry. The cloud can provide all of that and more, at prices you can afford, and with no need to hire on an IT team or build a server room. Here are some of the ways an new business can use cloud computing to have a mature IT infrastructure from day one.
As a new business, you are focused on getting your business up and running. You have very little time, even less money to burn, and anything that isn’t core to your new business is something you have to consider doing without. Most new businesses will need email, but might be willing to go without things like calendaring and instant messaging; fortunately that is not something they have to do. Email and collaboration are huge players in the cloud computing space, and many offer the full suite of services to the SMB market. As only one example, Office 365 offers Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync as cloud offerings, and a new business can get up and running with that full suite of email/calendaring, collaboration, and instant messaging/web conferencing services in less than a day. Another example, Salesforce offers complete CRM capabilities to customers, and they don’t even need an IT person on staff. Cloud computing really starts to move many IT services into a utility based model, enabling companies to focus on their core business.
Cloud computing is the next stage of evolution for outsourcing, and that means new businesses don’t have to deal with the support and administrative overhead that comes along with buying (or leasing) servers and running services in your own IT shop. Cloud computing is global, which means the service providers are on the clock 24×7, so that you don’t have to be. Whether you need help Monday morning, or Christmas day, cloud service providers handle the staffing so you don’t have to worry about what time it is.
Any new business needs to be sensitive to costs, and cloud computing offers a wide range of choice for every budget. In practically every case I have ever seen, cloud service providers offer subscription based pricing on a per user basis, allowing business to spend on a monthly basis, only purchase what they need, grow as they grow, and in most cases, classify these expenses as Opex rather than Capex (and of course avoiding any significant capital outlays.) The only caution I share is to look very closely at the low to no costs solutions…as with anything, you get what you pay for. A significant percentage of my current clients are paying me to move them from “free” services to “pay” services, because the free ones just can’t meet their needs. That won’t always be the case, and a free service may give you all that you need, but don’t choose based solely on cost.
Many new businesses struggle with initial IT needs, or worse, just go without. Now that cloud computing is a mainstream offering, and with so many cloud service providers to choose from, subscribing to a low cost but fully mature cloud computing solution puts all the power of IT within the reach, and the budget, of everyone from sole proprietors to venture capital funded startups.
This is a guest article written by Casper Manes on behalf of IT Channel Insight, a site for MSPs and Channel partners where you can find other related articles to cloud services.
Photo source: https://www.sxc.hu/photo/1362247.