Cloud computing: what’s the point?

Cloud Computing consists of outsourcing the storage of your data and software on servers accessible from the Internet. It thus has a dual objective: to relieve the user of server issues and allow him to have his data and tools available wherever he is, as soon as he has an Internet connection.

Cloud Computing may seem to concern only a few new technology enthusiasts and web startups. Error! It is in fact a technology available to everyone that gives flexibility and real benefits to VSEs and SMEs.

There are many different tools working in the Cloud (mail client, sales management, CRM, banking…) which all work on the same principle. Thus, whether you go to check your e-mails, retrieve your bank statements or book a train ticket, a server stores the information, the program (Gmail and your e-mails for example), and the user consults them via the Internet.

Note that it is not only data that is available from the Internet, it is also the tools that make it possible to exploit it. So, it’s not only the songs that are in the cloud, but it’s also the software to listen to them with Deezer and Spotify for example.

So, there are many advantages to using SaaS tools (which work in the Cloud) and putting your data in the Cloud when you’re a VSE or SME. Indeed, the specificities of the latter ensure great flexibility for companies and therefore greater responsiveness and better organization.

Sharing and exploiting information

As soon as your data and tools (commercial management software, customer management, or cash management for example) are in the Cloud, you can access and use them from any terminal (computer, tablet…) connected to the Internet. It is therefore very simple to share your data with your mobile teams or those installed on other sites than you.

It is also possible to open access to external service providers without them needing to be on your premises. You can thus avoid many exchanges of USB keys, emails, or CDs with your accountant by opening him access to your commercial management so that he can access online all your commercial documents and thus carry out your accounting.

Collaborative work becomes extremely flexible with Cloud Computing since it allows you to free yourself from geographical, time, and material constraints.

Thus, your salesman will be able to create an estimate in Bordeaux, his manager will be able to validate it and transform it into an invoice in Lille, marketing will be able to analyze it in Paris, the manager will be able to follow the cash flow that this sale implies and the chartered accountant will be able to account for it from his offices… and all this directly, without any export or additional click!

Mobile Access

As long as your data is available from the Internet, it doesn’t matter where you are. So you can be a thousand miles away from your office, you can still work. So, whether you are at a customer’s house, at the train station, or on your own premises, you can work and consult your data.

The connection between several software packages via API

Another advantage (and not the least) of using your software in the Cloud is that you can connect/link it with other software. This link makes it possible to take advantage of the benefits of different services at the same time but also to have new functionalities.

Thus, if we take the example of CRM and emailing, the link between this two software allows on the one hand to easily define the target you want to reach with your campaign and on the other hand to analyze the results of the latter using the data you have in the CRM.

More concretely, you want to send an email to all your customers with more than 20 employees, based in France, and working in BtoB. You will be able to make these filters in your CRM software and find these contacts in your emailing tool. Once the campaign is sent, you will be able to analyze the opening or click rates by industry sector or region of France for example. Thus, the two services do not only add up, they become richer.

Your company can therefore gain a lot of flexibility because you can easily build your “own” tool with different software. Thus, the data you have in your commercial management software and those of your cash management software are no longer compartmentalized. You can cross-reference them for further analysis and to improve the efficiency of your company without having to re-enter the data several times.

So, there are two real advantages to the simplicity of interconnecting software in SaaS mode: saving time since you enter your data only once, and improving data processing as the tools you use become richer.

No more hardware constraints

Another element that will add flexibility to your business with the Cloud is freedom from hardware constraints. Indeed, as long as your software and data are in the Cloud and you use SaaS tools, the management of servers, security, updates, etc. is included in the subscription you take out with your service providers. You no longer have to worry about servers, data, and backup.

Your company will no longer be limited by the technical constraints related to your hardware and your budget (too small server, server not updated…) and you will no longer have to work with potentially slow and undersized machines. In addition to this is the problem of backups, which implies setting up restrictive processes to guarantee the durability of data. As this task is no longer your responsibility, you no longer have any constraints to place on your teams (stopping machines for updates or backups…).

In conclusion, the Cloud increases the efficiency and flexibility of companies insofar as it allows:

  • Work in groups without constraints (technical, schedule, geographical …)
  • Manage the software on demand and therefore the functionalities used
  • No longer have to deal with long, complicated, and demanding technical tasks
  • Save time by limiting re-entries
  • Save money

Would you like to get more information about cloud computing and implement it in your business? Contact us today.

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