Q: The disruption to my business owing to the recent bad weather has cost me dearly. How do I ensure this doesn’t happen again?
A: Most businesses in the UK have been affected in one way or another by the adverse weather conditions over the last couple of weeks.
For many it meant office closures, or having to be at home with children whilst schools were shut. Office phones rang unanswered all over the country, emails and documents queued up undelivered. Cash, stock, purchase and logistic projections and returns were left uncompleted. Appointments were cancelled and for many due to little visibility of personal or staff calendars were not re-scheduled.
For many, aside from the use of mobile phones, visibility of what's going on in their businesses and being able to communicate with staff and customers means travelling to their place of work.
Increasingly though forward-thinking businesses are realising the benefits of using internet-based “cloud” IT services to add flexibility and elasticity to their day-to-day operations meaning freedom from a fixed working base and opening up new opportunities.
Benefits can include :
- A flexible phone system that can be administered via the Internet. Re-direct numbers for you and staff to mobiles or other landlines
- Working securely with your company email from anywhere with an internet presence
- Accessing, sharing and working with company documents outside the office
- Viewing and editing appointments for you and colleagues with online calendars
- Instant messaging contact with your staff
- Working with your accounting and customer relationship systems securely from an internet browser
- What you see in the office is what you see from home meaning little or no re-training and no re-keying of information
- Changes are backed up automatically meaning less worry
- No need for expensive desktops and laptops as services are delivered via an internet browser - the computing power is with the services host.
Complementing existing systems or migrating whole or in part to one or many cloud services does not necessarily mean a big upfront investment.
Instead services are billed on a pay-as-you-go basis in the same way utilities are charged for at home. Simple implementations can be achieved quickly and without the normal disruption associated with bringing new technology to the workplace.
The demand from consumers and businesses to access, share and work with information from anywhere at any time, whilst tightening operating and capital budgets means re-thinking the traditional client-server in-house model.
Don't get left in the cold, consider IT cloud technologies to help you and your business.
Dave Clarke, managing director, Love IT.