Your Organization In The Cloud

You may have heard much about cloud computing. It is a common term today. In case it still does not make sense for you, think of it simply as software that runs inside of a web browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari. You likely use software every day. If you do online banking, then you are operating in the cloud. Here is what is happening in this situation:

  • Your bank is updating revisions of the software you use
  • You can access your account from any computer anywhere
  • You have a secure login
  • You do not have any software on your desktop
  • You do not have any software running on a company server
  • If you need help, the bank supports you

You have the ultimate combination of convenience without hassle. Someone else is managing the system, data, uptime, and all the headaches. You just want to get things done. The system is outsourced.

Your own company can have the same kind of setup. Your team can work anywhere with a login from a web browser. They use the systems you set up to access information like customer records, financials, marketing analytics or email. They may have several logins, but you never have to get an IT person to set up a new computer and install an image file.

Your data can be updated, shared and secured. For example, we work with customers at AscendWorks to build a knowledge base. The reason is that as companies grow, their processes and systems continually change and evolve. Having the methodology for how things get done to make money, service customers or manage projects should not be with people. People leave, especially in today’s economy. If they are the stopgap, then when they leave, their knowledge leaves with them.

The better option is to use systems to retain information that supports the business processes you are seeking to perfect. A knowledge base in a secure intranet, wiki or project area can change and be a focal point for aligning a team. Anyone in a department or in the company can visit with their login and search for answers. They can review business process steps, access relevant template files or share their own best management practices.

This helps the organization to grow and manage to the realities of today’s workforce. As new people come on board, they can learn their role and how to get things done by accessing a cloud system that explains quickly and easily how to get things done.

There are many other types of systems beyond a knowledge base that a business needs. There is a cloud computing answer for each one. The benefits to you as you are seeking to build something is that your cost outlay is small. In comparison to a decade ago, it makes it easier for an entrepreneur or small business owner to build something.

In the book, The Mesh, Lisa Gansky shares how to turn shared resources into business opportunities with information systems. She comments on the impact of technological advancements, especially in cloud computing:

If we were to start Ofoto today, offering the same products and services (reliable network storage, customer order systems, backend systems, printing and shipping facilities), I estimate that it would take 10 percent of the nearly $60 million we raised at the time. Why? The cloud computing networks, tools, talent pool, and software as a service (SaaS) vendors in place today would allow us to go to market faster with far less capital. {Gansky, Lisa (2010-09-23). The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing (Kindle Locations 577-580). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.}

This is exactly the phenomenon of cloud computing and the rampant adoption and implementation of such systems within the business processes of new businesses. They are not encumbered by old outdated systems and overhead. You can turn on what you need and turn it off when you don’t need it.

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