Technology has become one of the pillars for competitive advantage among businesses – both small and large. However, in this hyper-competitive world, small businesses tend to be at a disadvantage compared to their large counterparts. Cloud solutions has helped small businesses efficiently, and cost-effectively manage their storage information.
This can be done by not deploying physical infrastructures such as file and e-mail servers. These servers can also be used “anytime, anywhere” which makes it more convenient and hassle-free partnership among employees and respective partners. Even entrepreneurs can benefit from cloud services with its easy-to-use features, which do not require the skills of any IT professional. It can be said that a significant number of today’s small business technology can be fulfilled through cloud-related offerings.
What is Cloud Computing Anyway?
Some people may think that cloud computing is just a marketing term. A term used to define the mainframe of centralized computing. However, cloud computing is much more. Cloud computing is very far from mainstream computing. One difference is the fact that cloud computing offers small businesses large storage options. With cloud computing, the information will be stored much more efficiently at a very affordable price.
Aside from that, cloud computing also comes with different subdivisions such as Software-as-a-Service also known as SaaS. This is where a customer is being offered a certain application or service such as QuickBooks, Dropbox, and Salesforce.com. Aside from SaaS, there is also the PaaS which stands for Platform-as-a-Service. This integrates the application as well as the databases and other services offered by the business. All these things are packed in one platform. Also, in some cases, there are cloud services allowing businesses to buy other providers to act as a virtual resource. Along with Saas and PaaS there is also IaaS or the Infrastructure-as-a-Service; such as Rackspace, Amazon EC2 and Google.
Since small businesses rely on the effectiveness and efficiency of delivering software and technical services at a relatively low price, they have more likely used SaaS. Below is a list of 7 cloud solutions for small businesses.
OfficeTime excellently records your working time, and it can even calculate the cost of your work per minutes. After that, the invoices can be generated. Furthermore, it has a wide array of customization options, which may suit your personal taste and provide you with utmost convenience. If you are using a Mac or Windows, OfficeTime works with both systems.
Sage One is considered a business solution that is specifically made for small businesses. Expense management, project tracking, and invoicing are just a few of its offerings. The solid interface limits customization; however, it is still the best cloud computing software especially if product management is the main focus of your business. The software comes with an online storage of 5GB.
Adobe Forms Central
$0-$11.99 per month Adobe offers the quick and user-friendly business intelligence tools for your small business needs. It also comes with BI components, allowing businesses to analyze data from submitted forms. These forms and data can be embedded in famous social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as in e-mail campaigns.
$24.99 MSRP DocuSign Pro is the best choice for electronic signing of documents. It comes with a tagging system, guiding the recipient on what to do. It also offers a full audit trail processes. Furthermore, DocuSign Business and Enterprise have a centralized management of multiple users, shared documents, corporate branding and many more.
Small business owners can enjoy the benefits of Office 365 for $6-$24 per user on a monthly basis. It is integrated with the existing Active Directory environment. These features mark the end for traditional, on-site Windows server administrators. Office 365’s unification of SharePoint and Office Lync allows for centralized managing of a Windows environment.
The most impressive mobile support can be found in Adobe Connect. Despite being slightly expensive as opposed to GoToMeeting and WebEx, Adobe Connect is the most capable, customizable web conferencing option available. It offers a variety of ways for users to stay connected.
This software is the same as Visio but it a lower cost alternative solutions for only $4.95 – $9.95 per user, per month. If you need to create diagrams for your programs or company’s data management plans, Gliffy is the cloud solution for your small business. It’s easy to use features make it simple for everybody to use, especially when creating diagrams isn’t always easy to do with other software.