Small businesses use tools that enable them to do more and to engage with their customers in ways previously not possible. This can drive revenues, increase profit margins, and deliver better customer experiences. When the cloud appeared on the horizon five or six years ago, its implications for small businesses weren’t completely clear.
Many small businesses probably didn’t pay much heed to all of the advertisements—from print, to radio, to television. Nowadays it's obvious that things have changed (85 percent believe cloud solutions can help them scale and grow their businesses faster). Businesses that now exist "in the cloud" are seeing the results first hand. Small businesses using an above average number of cloud services (2.5 tools) experience 26 percent faster revenue growth and 21 percent higher profitability. This is pretty astounding when you think about it.
Slow to Move to the Cloud
However, despite the vast majority of “cloud believers,” there are still a number of businesses that haven’t stepped into the cloud at all, and still another sizable portion that have only dipped their toes into the water (e.g., using Google Mail). Merely skimming the surface of possibilities leaves stones unturned. Opportunities to grow your business, drive operational efficiencies, and build closer relationships with your customers are lost.
To realize business benefits of the cloud, small businesses must make a strategic IT investment. Where are you at when it comes to your peers? While average IT spend is between three and five percent, small businesses with the fastest growth put over 10 percent of their revenues back into their IT system—and a significant portion of this is in cloud services.
Certainly investing in IT for the sake of “being average” or “above average” isn’t a valid reason to do so. Investigating, assessing, and identifying opportunities, however, to transform existing processes and systems by moving them to the cloud is a must for a business planning to remain competitive in today’s fast-changing digital age. Sticking with the status quo isn’t a viable option.
Top Reasons and Strategies for the Cloud
So what are the primary reasons small businesses are investing in the cloud? Albeit cost is a factor in about one-third of instances, it isn’t at the top list of reasons small businesses turn to cloud solutions. Rather, flexibility around mobility and remote work ranks first. A joint Deloitte-Google study spells out the list of priorities:
· Mobility and Remote Working, 47%
· Reduced Operating Costs, 38%
· Collaboration, 36%
· Lower Maintenance Requirements, 32%
· Access to Technical Expertise, 27%
· Scalability, 25%
· Avoid Long-Term Contracts, 16%
More interesting insights become obvious when one looks at the responses of small businesses that show up as growth leaders. Collaboration and communications rank at the top of the list for them (42 percent), with workforce mobility as a close second (41 percent). Business outcomes don’t necessarily revolve around cost either:
· Scale and Growth, 80%
· Access to New Markets, 77%
· Focus on Strategic Projects, 75%
· Beat Competitors, 66%
Where to Start with the Cloud
So where in the cloud should you start to generate the biggest impact to your business? A recent study pinpoints accounting-related functions as the two lowest-hanging categories: back-office work such as bookkeeping and accounting and invoicing and account receivables. Moving your accounting applications to the cloud is one thing; managing them is another. Indeed, accounting is a complex undertaking and fraught with compliance requirements. Failure to address can result in hefty fines and hits to your reputation. This is why businesses need to supplement their cloud-based accounting solutions with the expertise of human accounting specialists. This was the genesis of Bookly.
This concept of technology plus the human element is something Davinci Virtual Office Solutions understands well. Our communications services were developed with this premise in mind. We built and acquired best-in-class technologies, combining these with sales and customer services agents who serve as an extension of each client, to deliver outstanding engagement experiences—whether via our Live Receptionist or Live Web Chat services. It is not one or the other, but rather both that stand at the center of our value proposition. We believe in this integrated approach so much that we use it ourselves for sales and customer service for DavinciVirtual.com and DavinciMeetingRooms.com.
Martin has been enjoying the creation and successful execution of many technology and service related ventures over the past 25 years. He is very passionate about building businesses from the ground up by leveraging cutting edge technologies, innovation and smart, driven people. Martin currently leads all business operations at Davinci Virtual Office Solutions. He credits his international upbringing and Swiss approach for many of his successes. Stress relievers include skiing, tennis, mountain biking and blue oceans.