Below is a guest post from our friends at Insightly. They have a wildly popular CRM / project management tool that syncs beautifully with Google Apps (we use it too!).
The cloud can be a strategic asset for small businesses, and its use is on the upswing. The SMB cloud market is $18.9 billion in the U.S. alone, and it’s expected to grow to $95 billion by 2015.
Beyond storing data in the cloud, businesses can run applications and software remotely, which is increasingly useful for companies whose employees are spread across the globe or working outside the four walls of an office.
Here are five more reasons why your small business should consider the cloud.
1. It’s quick to implement.
Small businesses are eager to get off the ground, and they don’t want IT issues to hold them back. By tapping into cloud services for email, project management, accounting and more, businesses can implement all the necessary solutions to make their operations run as optimally as possible. In many cases, it’s as fast and simple as going to a website and signing up with an email address.
2. It’s less expensive.
Many small businesses don’t have the budgets required for on-premise solutions. Relying on the cloud means small businesses enjoy lower subscription and maintenance fees.
3. There’s no need for an IT department.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs may not have the experience necessary to set up on-premise solutions, especially when they’re just starting out. Outsourcing to the cloud makes it easier for a business to run smoothly and for employees to focus on their core jobs because they don’t need to worry about backups, server upgrades and security.
4. It provides more flexibility.
Small businesses in which all employees work together in the same office every day are in the minority. Because employees are spread across regions or even continents, businesses need tools to help spur collaboration. Using cloud solutions means employees can have constant access to documents, project notes, customer and prospect updates, and more wherever they are.
5. Companies can do their due diligence.
Most software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications provide a free trial or account, so business owners can try multiple solutions until they find one that meets their needs and the needs of their employees. This isn’t possible with on-premise solutions, and companies may find themselves investing in tools that aren’t cohesive with their business flow, resulting in unused solutions and wasted money.
We’ve seen more and more new businesses coming in to the market using cloud tools to help establish their operations from email marketing to CRM to finance to security. For example, these businesses are turning to a Web-based CRM solution because they can input customer or prospect information, track developments, add updates and gain access to all of this information from any device at any time – something that’s not possible otherwise.
Running a business on a cloud-based model means companies can more easily share information, back it up automatically and not have to worry about administering services.
By Anthony Smith, CEO of Insightly