In the past, IT was something big companies did with expensive hardware and huge racks of networking gear, while small companies strung their PCs together with bits of network cable and hoped for the best.
In the cloud era, a small business has just as much access to powerful applications and tools as the likes of IBM, Amazon and so on. In fact, anyone can use the tools these companies provide to either run their day-to-day business functions, create new products and crunch their ever-growing amounts of data.
Most startup companies would be mired in costly IT expenses if it wasn’t for the cloud. They accept that technologies like cloud office suites, chatbots, and AI tools are also a basic part of their easily-available IT menu. However, many existing small businesses still have the mindset that powerful IT is too big or expensive for them.
The ‘We Are The Cloud’ Mindset
Once a company gets out of that limiting mindset, and embrace the cloud, there are a host of applications and use cases available. They can help the company operate more efficiently, understand its data better and create new ways to engage with customers.
The benefits come in many ways, some small, some massive. Companies can better communicate and collaborate using a cloud office suite like Google Docs or Office 365. They can work with contractors on freelancing sites. Even for the smallest of companies, a new website with useful features can replace old monolithic or plain unattractive sites, and businesses can embrace social media, all designed using smart services or low-cost contractors.
Complex tasks or whole departments can move to efficient services like accounts, human resources or stock control. And, of most value, companies can adopt cutting-edge technology to help improve their business. This could be rolling out AI chatbots to talk to customers, saving on customer service costs and gaining new insights into what their customers like.
There’s So Much Technology That Any Business Can Benefit From
A business leveraging the cloud can use augmented or virtual reality design tools to make killer interesting apps or website features that make their products more engaging. Or, using Smart Process Automation from WorkFusion they can start to tasks and workflows across the company. This help both to improve the productivity of workers or teams, and boost the volume or speed, whichever is critical to the business.
Automation of tasks has come a long way, yet many traditional businesses are still doing incredibly boring or laborious tasks manually. Computers can do these in a fraction of the time. By automating these, and more complex processes, such as processing invoices, the business works faster, can better understand its cash flow and turn that into planning data and insights for future plans or products.
Advanced machine learning tools can help with categorising your customers better, and recommending the types of products or services that they might be more interested in buying. If your business follows financial models, AI can help refine them and make them smarter than spreadsheet based rules.
There is so much that smart technology can offer, with the move to so-called digital business, any size or type of company can benefit. The key to success with any of these ideas or projects is to start off small, migrating a department or task, and measuring the level of success before widening the experiment.
With a huge opportunity for savings in time and money, there is every reason for small businesses to investigate how they can make use of the cloud and smart services to improve how their operations work.