the Cloud

The Cloud is known to reduce hardware and software costs, improve employee mobility, and productivity and puts the IT headaches into the hands of the cloud providers…where they belong.

Yet, one of the most exasperating expenses any employer deals with is the time-consuming, repetitive tasks that eat a lot of employee time. One company’s research with more than 2,000 users suggests that the average employee spends about 10% – 25% of his time in repetitive computer related tasks, whether it be transferring data, checking messages, formatting documents, starting applications, or any number of other routine tasks. In some job disciplines, an employee even spends about 70% of his time doing repetitive tasks.

Cloud-based apps, such as Street Smart’s Calendar  and Task Management apps excel at scheduling and systemizing tasks.  With cloud-based HR Software such as penHR ,the human resources department can spend less time doing routine, repetitive tasks by automating these routine processes in a fast, efficient system. HR software keeps track of once time-consuming tasks delegated to human resource employees, such as organizing the payroll, work time, online recruiting, application systems and training modules to get new employees up to speed and track their overall progress.

Law firms, paper intensive by nature, have dramatically benefited from moving to the cloud. A document gets uploaded once to a cloud repository and never needs to be touched again. It is searchable, can be shared, edited, and accessed as necessary without ever being touched again. Federal Courts have adopted electronic filing (filing of documents and actions electronically in the Cloud) and many State Courts are beginning to follow which allows a law firm to prepare and file documents without touching a printed document. An attorney commented that the copy machine, once the hub of all activity, is fast becoming irrelevant.

I cannot think of a single industry, from retail to manufacturing, service industries to professionals, that wouldn’t benefit from moving repetitive, time-consuming tasks from their employees to the Cloud.

A virtual employee that saves time, reduces costs, and doesn’t care what brand of coffee you serve.

As a daughter and mother, Mother’s Day holds a special place in my heart. I have the sweetest collection of cards, drawings, photos, poems, preserved flowers, and jewelry made of seashells, rocks, and several other unknown substances. The gifts change with the age of the child but each one is dear.  Crayoned cards morphed into emailed cards and letters, hand drawn pictures became Shutterfly albums, and hugs and kisses were sent via Skype.

One memorable moment happened when one of my sons spent a semester abroad. I got a message to log onto a website at a specific time on Mother’s Day; it seems a start-up had set up a videocam fixed on a crowded plaza, as a part of their beta testing, in the city where my son was studying. As I clicked on the site, I saw my son jumping up and down with a bouquet of flowers holding a sign that said, Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

Families, like companies, are spread all over the world, but both are able to stay closer than ever before and it is mostly due to the advances in Cloud computing and the proliferation of Cloud-based apps.  Families rely on Cloud-based email, social networking services, photo sharing apps, and skype for communication. Small and medium businesses rely on Cloud based CRM, file sharing apps, company wide calendars and tasks systems and industry specific apps.

We can’t imagine running back to the office to retrieve our phone messages anymore more so than limiting access to client contact info and a critical presentation because it is stored on a desktop sitting in an empty office.

This is the Cloud: mobility, communication, collaboration and cost efficiency. And it is our new reality.

And this new reality extends to mobile apps as well. Thanks to the Cloud, mobile business apps are booming in the business landscape, and small businesses are the most enthusiastic adopters.

“There’s a sea change going on in the marketplace…The number of cloud applications SMBs have adopted has doubled in the last two years.” – Bill Odell, Senior Director of Marketing with Dell.

IDC (International Data Corporation) estimates that the Cloud marketing, including products and services, will expand from $16 billion in 2010 to $56 billion in 2014.

According to an AT&T Survey on The Huffington Post, 30% of small businesses use mobile apps for their business. An additional 50% say they can’t survive without them, an increase of 31% since last year.

I see the benefits of Cloud computing in my professional and personal life. Cloud app providers, such as InfoStreet, allow me to work efficiently 3,000 miles away from my company and collaborate effectively with my co-workers and partners. And the explosion of personal apps allows my extended family to stay a part of each  others lives in ways unimagined a decade ago. If a family chooses not to embrace all that the Cloud has to offer, they lose out on memories being made. If a business doesn’t adopt the Cloud as an integral part of their company, they will lose out and fall behind their competitors.

That is the simple truth. And our mothers always told us to tell the truth.

To all our readers, Happy Mother’s Day.