When it comes to cloud computer adoption, it turns out many small businesses still do things the old fashioned way.
A recent survey released by Brother International, a global supplier of office equipment, further highlights this trend.
According to the survey, 58 percent of small businesses’ regular work tasks require employees to be physically present in the office. This could mean it’s impractical for these small business employees to be away. Or, just as likely, it could mean they lack the technology that could make collaboration and access to company data from elsewhere possible.
The study also reveals that 91 percent have the standard office equipment — printer, scanner, copier or fax machine — and that 43 percent of this group use the printer in the office more than 10 times per day.
On the other hand, the survey also shows small businesses looking to the future. There’s more interest in providing technology that will allow a more mobile, more flexible workforce with the ability to share files and resources more easily.
For example, the survey shows that 21 percent of survey respondents plan to spend the biggest portion of their IT budget on cloud-based file sync and share technologies.
Another 28 percent say their IT expenditure will go toward the purchase of mobile devices to accommodate remote workers, the study says.
If you’re among these leaders interested in seeing how new technologies can benefit you and your business, pay attention. Here are 10 ways to simplify cloud computing adoption at your company.
Cloud Computing Adoption Tips
Understand Your Business Needs
Before you decide whether you need cloud computing for your business or not, you should take a closer look at your requirements.
To get the most value out of your IT investment, you should know areas where cloud can make a real difference. To give an example, you could opt for a cloud computing tool which will make onboarding easier for your new employees and reduce paperwork for the human resources team. On the other hand, your company may not need a solution that offers huge amounts of data storage or cloud-based collaboration tools.
Understand What Cloud Can Do For You
The next step is to evaluate cloud computing from your organization’s point of view.
Cloud computing provides a host of benefits to small businesses such as making large scale processing easier. It also improves flexibility by providing access to information across a multitude of platforms and devices. Suppose, for example, your business requires you and your employees to travel extensively while staying in touch or accessing files back at the office. In this case, cloud computing will make a lot of sense for you.
On the other hand, maybe your staff spends most of its time in the office handling walk-in customers. In this case, they may only need a way to backup customer information and other data to provide those services.
Choose the Most Appropriate Option
Once you have gathered enough information about cloud computing and how it can help your business, decide whether you need a public, private or hybrid cloud.
Each option comes with its own set of benefits and weaknesses. For example, public cloud is the more cost-effective option, but comes with greater security risks. Private clouds, on the other hand, are far more customizable but considerably more expensive than public clouds and are often used by larger enterprises rather than small businesses.
Take a Trial Run
Not completely sure about deploying cloud at your organization? Go for a trial run to get a good understanding of how it can benefit your business.
During the trial run, you will be able to observe the changes that cloud services can bring to your business. Many cloud computing tools have a 30-day free trial period, enough to give you a fair idea how the technology works and whether it will benefit your business.
Start on a Small Scale
It’s always a good idea to keep things simple when you have just started using a new technology. So go for a simple, uncomplicated cloud architecture that can help you get started.
You should get used to the basic cloud structure before scaling up.
Get Your Employees On Board
Adopting a new technology is an important change not only for your business but also for your employees. It is therefore essential that you address their questions and concerns before integrating a cloud solution into your operations.
You can hold meetings with the teams that will be impacted by the transition. Explain why you’re adopting the new cloud service and how you expect them to support the organizational change.
Learn From Other Businesses
An increasing number of small businesses are moving to the cloud today. Their needs maybe different than yours, but you can learn a lot of useful lessons from them for when your business adopts cloud technology.
It’s probably a good idea to network with other businesses to understand the challenges they faced when they moved to cloud. How is their experience now? Are they happy with the cloud services they have adopted? You can find answers to these questions when you reach out to them.
Evaluate the Vendors
A quick search on Google will tell you there are many cloud vendors vying for the attention of the small business market. Even big players like Microsoft and IBM are focusing on the small and medium sized business segment with some innovative cloud solutions. Keeping this in mind. It’s essential for you to evaluate the various options available to you.
When you are assessing your options, don’t focus only on pricing. Take other factors such as reliability, scalability and ongoing support into account.
Keep Future Business Needs in Mind
Your IT strategy should align with your future business needs. Of course, you can’t predict the future, but it’s always a good idea to ask yourself where you see your business in five years. Are you going to need more resources on the ground and in different locations? Do you expect your workforce to grow? Is remote working a distinct possibility?
One of the benefits of cloud services is their ability to scale as your business needs grow. Be sure the vendor or vendors you choose provide the capacity to support this future growth.
Don’t shy away from asking questions about the solutions you are exploring for your organization. You should ask potential vendors how they will support you in case there’s a security breach of some sort. You may also want to ensure your data is not saved in a country where laws do not align with your business requirements.
A clear understanding of the cloud technology you plan to use can help your business in many different ways. You just need to plan properly and explore your options.
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