Although the popularity and widespread availability of cloud computing is less than a decade old, it’s a trend that’s seen very rapid adoption. According to a survey conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners at the end of 2013, 75 percent of businesses now utilize at least one cloud platform. Streamlining processes, improving accessibility and reducing spending on technology infrastructure are just a few of the many reasons why so many businesses have embraced the cloud.
Whether you’re just starting a business or are already established, taking advantage of a variety of cloud services is a great way to make your business even more efficient. That’s true even if you’re already utilizing one or more platforms. The reason is most businesses aren’t aware of just how many useful cloud options are available. So to see how many different areas of your business cloud computing can positively impact, we’re going to cover a variety of available options right now:
Trying to use email to collaborate with one or more people on any type of writing is a hassle. That’s why this is the easiest place to start switching to the cloud. When you use a service like Google Docs, Zoho, or Office Web Apps, everyone will be able to collaborate in the same documents together without creating any confusion or accidental overwrites.
Related Resources from B2C
» Free Webcast: Blogging in the Age of Modern Marketers
Even though it may seem completely out of date, there are still plenty of business activities that require sending a fax. However, just because faxing is a necessity doesn’t mean you want a clunky, loud machine sitting around your office. For a more elegant and efficient way to handle faxing, try a cloud service like eFax, faxZero, PopFax, PamFax or myFax. These services make it dead simple to both send and receive faxes directly from your computer.
Whether you’re working with someone on the other side of the globe or their computer is literally just across the hall, sharing big files used to be a significant problem. The reason is once files exceeded a moderate size, it simply didn’t make sense to send them by email. And even if you tried, that approach generally wouldn’t work. Fortunately, Dropbox changed all that. Sharing video files or folders full of pictures is now as easy as dragging and dropping. Google Drive, SpiderOak, SkyDrive, SugarSync and Box.com are some of the other services that offer a similar functionality.
One of the most common complaints employees have about their jobs is that meetings waste too much of their time. In fact, research has found that 31 hours are spent each month in unproductive meetings! If you want a better option, as well as the ability to work with talented remote employees, cloud meetings are a better choice. Taking this approach will allow you to schedule your meetings at convenient times that won’t interrupt employees’ workflow. WebEx, Voxeet, OpenMeetings, GoToMeeting and AnyMeeting are some of the free and paid services specifically designed to provide meeting functionality in the cloud.
Printing Stickers and Other Marketing Materials
Gone are the days of needing to find a local print shop that both meets your quality standards and offers the types of products you want. Instead, you can take care of all your printing needs online. With PsPrint, you can design and order highly effective marketing tools like stickers and postcards in no time. What’s really appealing about taking this approach to printing is not only is it very convenient, but the pricing is also quite attractive. And when your order is complete, it will be delivered directly to your home or office.
Because so much more business happens on the go, it’s extremely useful to have access to all your lead and customer information wherever you are. If you want to be able to look up someone’s information from your desktop, phone, laptop, or tablet, a cloud CRM solution like Highrise, SugarCRM, CiviCRM or vTiger CRM will let you do exactly that.
As you can see from the above list, there’s no shortage of cloud solutions that can make your life easier. In fact, there are so many that it can seem a little overwhelming at first. Since you want these options to reduce stress instead of create it, don’t feel pressured to shift your entire business to the cloud overnight. Instead, start with one area, and then once you complete that transition, you can continue moving even more parts of your business to the cloud over time.
Image via Shutterstock