Cloud computing provides businesses with a way to access state of the art software solutions without the need to purchase new computer hardware or employ an IT manager to install and maintain systems. Cloud computing systems allow businesses to manage production and staff in a more efficient way.
One of the biggest benefits for start-up businesses is that cloud-based software can be accessed from anywhere, which means that business owners can access company information anytime, whether in the office, while travelling on business or working from home. Cloud services are designed to run on any computer device, including traditional desktops, Apple Macs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Businesses spend around 80% of their IT budgets on maintaining current computer systems. Outsourcing to a cloud based computer service provider eliminates the need to maintain your own business support systems. Traditional software is usually designed with a single platform in mind, either PC or Mac, and this is a huge barrier for start-ups.
Why start-up businesses choose to use ERP
ERP is very a popular among start-ups because it provides an effective way for a manager to monitor the business as a whole on a daily basis. Managers no longer need to await reports from accountants to know how well a business is performing. Daily reporting is possible, in fact, reports can be run anytime, and so long as data is inputted, new reports can be produced.
Decisions and new strategies can be quickly evaluated and the real time reporting which ERP provides can alert managers to both potential problems and new opportunities.
How to successfully adopt cloud software
As with any software, research is important. Business owners need to determine their needs and order computer support to meet those requirements. Many entrepreneurs are opting for an online ERP service. ERP is Enterprise Resource Planning and it is a relatively new computer reporting system that integrates each part of a business and provides a central database from which the latest reports can be viewed.
ERP is usually a modular system so that a basic initial system can be upgraded when needed. For example, ERP can cover project management, manufacturing, marketing, customer services, accounts and human resources.
There is a lot of competition in the ERP market and many software vendors specialize in providing tailored systems for larger enterprises, mid-market enterprises or small businesses. While many businesses are utilizing cloud technology, many are not doing it efficiently. A good plan is vital; a clear business strategy needs to be developed before an ERP vendor is contacted.
Once the business plan is in place the best people to advise are the ERP vendors. New technologies and solutions are developing all the time, so what was written in a book a couple of years ago will already be out of date. Also bear in mind that as many businesses are not making full use of their systems, the advice received from business networks may also be out of date.
Moving to cloud based business support solutions does require a change in working practices and there will always be a period of business user testing and training in larger companies. For start-ups, going straight to the cloud can really help to get the business flying.