Garry Fullerton of Newcastle, New South Wales asks:
small business is growing rapidly and I’m at the point where I need new
IT systems. My off-the-shelf accounting package is proving an
inadequate solution of multiple files and consolidation spreadsheets.
It’s not just accounting. As it’s grown, my company has been held
together with different software for each functional role. So, my
marketing, project management, customer service and sales systems don’t
interact. Extracting the right information quickly is impossible. How
does ‘cloud computing’ solve these issues? How can it help me in my
day-to-day business activities?
Kenelm Tonkin, Chairman, Tonkin Corporation
Anyone with a growing enterprise and a need to revamp their
systems is in an exciting place today. IT developments for SMEs have
been so dramatic in the last 3 years that taking on some of these
benefits will transform the way you do business.
One is cloud computing. The idea here is that you rid yourself of all
the old headaches of software licensing, hardware investment, IT
techie-speak, installation, ongoing upgrades, software compatibility
issues, manual back-ups and server maintenance. With cloud computing,
the traditional desktop-server model is turned on its head. For one
monthly fee, now software providers will develop browser-accessed
software, invest in significant server infrastructure, employ
technicians to improve and update the software seamlessly, grant you
usage rights to the system, offer you customised KPI metrics and
meaningful dashboards, protect your data with sophisticated encryption
technology, firewalls and frequent, multi-site, automated back-up
For decades, compatibility between systems has been impeded because
installation updates were managed by the client. So, differing version
hindered the process. With a software provider updating once on a
centralised server, inter-system compatibility is fostered. So, now
accounting, marketing, project management, customer service and sales
systems are more likely to interact. Today, it is entirely feasible for
an SME to have fully integrated information delivered to a desktop,
laptop, tablet or mobile. So, you will be able to check office telephone
usage from your mobile, customer service interactions from an airport
lounge, or a marketing campaign’s impact on revenue whilst at home.
Go to the cloud. Abandon the traditional desktop-server framework.
Save yourself frustration and money. While engaged in this IT revamp,
think too about online video communication and a paperless office. Even
that alone will save you a small fortune.