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The benefits of cloud computing

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Cloud Computing or web hosted IT is great news for SME's, allowing them to cut costs, reduce IT hassles and save money. This presentation covers the benefits and drawbacks of cloud IT and provides practical examples of low-cost cloud applications every SME should be aware of!

Published in: Technology, Business

The benefits of cloud computing

  1. 1. Cutting costs with Cloud Computing Ben Stege
  2. 2. One step back • How important is IT? • Not as important as a good product and YOU! • But, get it wrong and pay! – Headaches & lost time – Cost (too expensive, cost of change) – Loss of data, reputation and money “IT isn’t that important, but it is important to get right”
  3. 3. Why do we always talk about IT? • From floor worker to MD • It can be so complex • We can’t get our head around it, but… • It can be so handy!
  4. 4. How IT is changing the marketplace • Customers are getting ever more digital – other ways to connect with customers • Geographical boundaries are disappearing – for us and our competitors – Offer products (online shopping) – Offer services (justanswer.com, expertexchange.com)
  5. 5. Let’s make the most of it • As we will need IT, why not make the most of it and get the best tools at the best price • Or one step further – get such good tools that will make us more competitive
  6. 6. The best tools • Are user friendly • Reduce hassle • Are functional • Are flexible and mobile • Work well together • Offer value for money
  7. 7. IT functionality • On stage – web, social media, email marketing, video, presentations etc. • Back stage – email, calendaring, CRM, accounting
  8. 8. IT in SME’s is 80% about people • Your customers: – Finding & connecting: web, social media, email – Managing relationships & support: CRM • Teams & employees: – Collaborate: email, file sharing, online meetings
  9. 9. Where does cloud computing fit in? • It is THE major trend in IT • It takes the technology out of IT • Focus on functionality • It is ideal for SME’s
  10. 10. So, what is cloud computing? • Also known as web-hosted IT • Data and functions are hosted by providers such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon • They manage all the technology • Accessed via the web browser • Simple examples: hotmail, online banking but also Twitter, Facebook and online games
  11. 11. What can I do in the cloud? • Website management • Social Media • Productivity suites: – Office / Docs – Email & Calendaring – Collaboration / file sharing – Online meetings & conferencing • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) • Accounting • Etc., etc.
  12. 12. What are the benefits? • Work anywhere • No software installations • Always the latest software • Easy to share information • Scalable • Automatic back-ups • Minimise engineer call-outs • No need to buy anything • Cut costs: economy of scale, easy to develop
  13. 13. Work Anywhere • All you need is: – A PC or Mac – An Internet connection (512/128 kb suffices) – A web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome) • Many applications have mobile versions or apps, tablets like iPad are ideal (no flash) • Access over EDGE/3G
  14. 14. No software installations • An Internet browser is the only software you need to install • Some applications do offer an app for extra functionality but still work without > Data is still online • Traditionally, every application on every computer needs separate software & updates • Number of PC’s x Number of Apps = Too Many • No dependency on computers
  15. 15. Always the latest software • Software is managed by hosting company • They upgrade & patch continually • No extra cost for new versions • No extra cost for new hardware requirements • No extra cost for on-site engineers
  16. 16. Easy to share information • The web acts as a hub to share information and work together > in the office or on the road • No need to allow inbound connections into your office network • Share documents, calendars, free/busy, customer & financial data, enter time slips etc.
  17. 17. Scalable • Add extra users, data storage and functionality with a click of the button and pay as you use. • No need to worry about hardware & software upgrades • Connect to other web applications to add functionality
  18. 18. Automatic back-ups • Back-ups are done automatically by the hosting provider (daily) • Usually of-site as well • Some do hourly back-ups • Some have mirrored systems
  19. 19. Minimise engineer call-outs • No on-site software installations & servers = less call-outs • Your cloud IT is managed by the hosting provider, included in the subscription • They keep your IT in optimised data centres and use highly specialised support teams • Only for the basic infrastructure: computers, printers and other devices • Most other cloud IT support can be done remotely which saves money
  20. 20. No need to buy anything • Cloud IT is much like a utility, you pay a subscription • You pay for what you use • You don’t have to buy hardware & software • You don’t have to buy upgrades every x years • You don’t risk theft, loss or breakdown • Good for cash flow
  21. 21. Cut costs! • Economy of scale, hosting providers: – Buy cheaper – Manage cheaper – Make sure their equipment isn’t idle • No need for large capital investment • An extremely competitive software market through: – Relatively easy switching of providers – Easy software development with PaaS and other development frameworks • Savings are passed on to you!
  22. 22. What to look out for? • Trust in the hosting provider • Access & authentication • Security & DPA • Vendor lock-in • A reliable Internet connection – A word about speed, latency and contention rate
  23. 23. What about security? • Hosting companies rely on security, like a bank • They have more resources than you or me: – Secure data centres – Tiered firewalls – Mirror sites – Hourly back-ups – Disaster recovery, etc. • No need for copying data to memory sticks and laptops • Secure passwords or 2-factor auth. are crucial • Check DPA & Safe Harbor list
  24. 24. Low costs tools worth knowing • Websites: Wordpress CMS • Social Media: Hootsuite • Productivity: Google Apps or Office 365 • File sharing: Dropbox • Audio & Video chat: Skype – also groups • CRM: many out there, also free with limited functions • Accounting: many out there, also free with limited functions • Photo editing: Pixlr.com • Anti-virus: Microsoft Security Essentials • Marketing: Youtube & Slideshare
  25. 25. Free is good, but… • Pick the right tools for the job • Prepare for growth • Migration can be a hassle: – Time spend – Possible loss of data – Learning new software
  26. 26. Conclusion • Opportunities for SMB As Microsoft says: “your local bakery can get enterprise-calibre software” • Requires a different mind set • More extrovert • Does it fit your business? • Not sure? Pick the best bits and go hybrid
  27. 27. What I have learned • Form partnerships (mutual referrals, commissions, packages, buying, advertising) • Good Digital presence • Don’t spend forever on auxiliary stuff but work constructively and get out there • Networking, not about selling but about relationships – sell through, not to, the room – Referrals – Trust & Like
  28. 28. Thank you! Questions? Connect with us: twitter.com/benstege www.cumulusit.co.uk/blog/

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