Online can be for some businesses a scary place full of insecurities and complex ways of workings. However these are both myths and if you can move both your files and communications online, you can really open up your business to new clients, colaborations with other businesses and substancially reduce your operating costs. Both small and enterprise clients are working online or “in the cloud”, so what are the benefits if you do?
How to shift to a new way of working online?
1. The internet – a central home for your stuff
We rely on the internet to do do over 85% of all our communications, whether it is to send an email, make transactions with our bank or buy goods. We appear to trust the internet for doing a multitude of activities and it is a great vehicle to move information from place to place with ease.
The key is to shift your information (emails and files) away from the many devices and to bring it all together and store it securely online in one place. Just imagine having your own business filing cabinet that is accessible only by you or your business!
2. Work anytime, any place, any where
The Internet acts as a super highway in which your information can flow and now we have Internet connections on our phones and tablets too. This means that you can access your information literally “anytime anyplace anywhere”. This creates the opportunity for you to make decisions on whether you can make a meeting by accessing your online calendar, pull up a presentation on your latest product range to show to a prospect on your laptop, or deal with emails using your smart phone on the train so you have an empty inbox when you return to the office.
3. No more backups
Working online means all your information is securely stored online and duplicated accross many data centers worldwide; this duplication creates many backups for you. So now there really is no need to have your own local backup, because once your save an email or a file online, it is automatically backed up to another data center. Currently if you were to store your documents in Google Drive, part Google Apps for Business; it has 33 data centers worldwide; so your data is backed up that many times!
4. Collaborate with ease
Historically the only way teams could collaborate on a document was to email each other, which created many versions of the truth and hard to coordinate projects. With all your files stored online, the people who have access to the files can work together accessing the latest version instantly. This creates a really powerful way to get things done and can also be extended to working with other companies to deliver products and services.
5. Reduce costs
If your information is being managed online in data centers that have their own inbuilt maintenance, you will have no software to install or costs involving backup and storage. And with no systems to maintain you could be looking at a 25% reduction in IT support costs.
6. Business continuity
The old way of working if a system went down or your business was attacked by a virus was to experience downtime. Now there is no need for this and instead you can experience 100% uptime because all your information is accessible anywhere and anytime. Even if you were to experience a hardware failure like your computer breaking down, you can continue working on your tablet or smart phone because your information resides online.
7. Extend your business
This article has mainly focused on email and documents, however you can integrate more parts of your business into the online experience. For example managing your customers through a CRM system, tracking invoices and utilising project management tools. All of these are directly linked to your emails and files creating a centralised and integrated business.
What’s stopping businesses going online?
Well literally nothing and with sufficient planning you could be up and running in days. However for some businesses, there are fears surrounding security and the internet itself-ask you self this question, when were you last without the Internet for a substantial amount of time? These days even if your office broadband were to go offline, you have a mobile phone network to provide you with a connection to your data immediately. Security wise, well the encryption and protection for storing information online is just as secure as banks…and we have been trusting them for years!
As well we have a culture of owning property and having it visible in front of us on our “own” servers and computers. But when you consider how much these devices are costing you to run and maintain; isn’t it time you shifted away from that old way of working?
Take steps now to super charge your business
All of the benefits talked about in this blog have been around since 2006, so its nothing new. In fact many of your competitors, customers and suppliers will be taking advantage of the cost savings and business efficiencies and are all ready working online. To find out how you can do it foo your organisation, check out our feature on Google for Work.