flexible-cloud-solutions|Photo Courtesy ofDepositphotos.comhttp://depositphotos.com/19095325/stock-photo-Cloud-Computing-Concept.html?sqc=43Many small businesses are using cloud-based software, infrastructure and platforms to manage their data, according to a recent article on the CloudTweaks website. Compared to more fixed IT solutions, the cloud’s flexibility offers critical strategic advantages to small and growing companies.

Here are two ways small businesses can benefit from outsourcing their IT needs to the cloud.

  1. Meeting actual demand instead of reacting to predictions: The cloud’s inherent flexibility is useful in strategic management because it ensures your IT infrastructure reflects actual business conditions, instead of relying on projections. For example, let’s say your business is projecting sales growth of 8 percent over the next 12 months. Planning ahead, you invest in system upgrades and expand networks to support the expected growth. If sales end up significantly higher or lower than anticipated, you’re already locked into an IT infrastructure based on year-old thinking. That’s where the cloud’s scalability is an asset. It provides the ability to scale your business up and down based on demand so that you can quickly respond to actual conditions.
  2. Adapting to changing business needs: When a company’s inventory or customer base changes, it can require costly or time-consuming changes to its client services system. Adding international clients, for example, could require alterations to your customer database, if it’s not configured to accommodate international calling codes. With cloud services, you can move to a better solution more easily than if you were using shrink-wrapped software or customized software.

Whether your business is changing size or direction, cloud-based systems allow you to create a flexible IT infrastructure. As a bonus, many of these cloud providers can now actively help fix issues and resolve problems by accessing your system using tools like LogMeIn and Adobe Connect. Ten years ago, if you called a software support line with a problem, they probably had to ask, “What screen are you seeing?” Now, however, customer support can see what you see.

Share your feedback. How has your company used the cloud to adapt to changing demand and business needs? Post your comments below!

Source: CloudTweaks, April 2013