Business owners seem to be inundated with 24/7 messages that all seem to be shouting “Get thee to the cloud”. But the thought of moving an entire operation to the Cloud can seem overwhelming so why not start slowly, with one application, or process, at a time and bring in more incrementally. Take the time to feel comfortable (it won’t take as long as you think), one step at a time. These are 10 apps that will start your the move to the cloud.*
Part I: The first 5 steps in bringing your office to the Cloud:
On a recent blog from Small Business Trend, it was noted email is still a marketing powerhouse, with 87 percent of Internet users checking their email daily in 2010. And that number has been steady over the past three years. Perhaps to kill the argument that social media is overtaking email, they also found that social media users are actually significantly more likely to check their email more than four times a day, and less likely to check infrequently.
But, although acknowledging that email is far from dead, its success still depends on which provider you choose. Having email on our smartphones and having it accessible from any pc,mac,net book, iPad etc is mandatory in today’s world. And for Outlook devotees, state of the art web based cloud providers such as StreetSmart, sync with your Outlook.
And, if you are thinking of moving to Yahoo or Gmail free or premium service, read this first.
2. Email Archiving
Email is the primary method of communication for every business making backing up absolutely mandatory. PC Magazine wrote an excellent article that outlined 10 steps to back up your Outlook account. These steps included:
- Copy the PST file you created to a location you can get at later.
- Find and copy the Autocomplete (NK2) file
Really? As we noted in an earlier post, Cloud based email services, such as StreetSmart email have an email archiving feature that automatically backup and archives your business email in the cloud, available from any web-enabled device. You don’t have to follow 10 steps; actually you don’t even have to turn it on. And as I mentioned in #1, Outlook, cloud based email services such as StreetSmart, sync with Outlook. Truly, the best of both worlds.
3. Employee Directory and Address Book
When you need to contact a key employee when you need him/her shouldn’t require a trip back to the office to look through your employee files. A good Cloud based Employee Directory provides your company with the ability to securely store and update vital employee information from any web enabled device and access it when and where you need it. And setting one up takes a few minutes: import your existing lists, assign permissions for your team and start working.
And never run back to the office again.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is all about managing the relationships you have with your customers including potential customers. And managing those relationships is all about access to real-time information. Web based CRM tools, such as StreetSmart’s CRM provides your team with tools to capture, track and share crucial information anywhere, from any web enabled device.
Instant, real-time information available for your salespeople, marketing team and customer service staff (whether this is one person or a team): these are the tools that set one company apart from their competitors.
And will all this, web enabled CRM provides absolute peace of mind with automatic backups and disaster recovery
5. Documents and Files
A common complaint I hear from Small Business Owners is their inability to share data. Contracts, presentations, reports…….these are the lifeblood of any company. Cloud based documents and file sharing give . A good document storage and sharing app will allow the admin to set access controls, display revision history while providing your team access where and when they need it.
” Where and when they need it”: This seems to be a phrase we use often when describing the cloud, or web-based, applications but in the real business world work doesn’t take place solely in your office. You couldn’t work with only a land-line in your office any more than you can afford to store your valuable resources in a server or a PC in the office.
Part II will take you through the final 5 steps to the cloud.
*When you use a suite of apps, such as StreetSmart, the data is shared amongst all the apps. Read here to learn how InfoStreet’s Cloud app solutions impacted a real estate firm’s productivity and profits…in under half a day.
InfoStreet, a Cloud app provider, helps clients navigate the multitude of Cloud apps launched daily to develop a customized, comprehensive solution to allow both management and sales professionals to work on their core competency. Contact us to see how InfoStreet can change help your company, whether you have 100 employees or one.