How SMEs Have Embraced the Cloud
Written by Steve Ross
Wondering how the cloud might help you? We take a look at some examples of how small and medium businesses found cloud solutions to strengthen their market position.
The cloud represents a new way of doing business for SMEs across the world. In the UK, we've helped hundreds of clients find their own cloud computing solutions but to create your own success story, it's important to understand how the cloud might work for your organisation. We've put together a list of case studies drawn from across the IT industry, to give you an idea of what happens when small businesses embrace the cloud.
iLuka: Boosting Security
iLuka is aUK events and hospitality firm handling advertising campaigns for multinational organisations during both the winter and summer Olympics. In the past, iLuka's administrative, creative and collaborative IT needs were handled by on-premises Microsoft Office software. But the company's growing client base wanted a greater level of security for their data, especially during Olympic periods when iLuka took on more staff.
Cloud solution: Office 365
By moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud-hosted Office 365 platform, iLuka could continue to access all their traditional Office apps, but also protect their clients' data by taking advantage of Microsoft's high-level, enterprise-class online security features. As a bonus, instead of paying for a year-long licence, iLuka could reduce costs by adding extra users to their existing Office 365 membership as and when they needed to.
PT Ford: Connecting with Customers
PT Ford, a small plumbing firm based in Maryland, USA, was struggling with their IT infrastructure which was beset with viruses, hosted an untidy website and, most significantly, was preventing them connecting with existing customers or attracting new ones. Fixing the existing system would be expensive - and wouldn't solve the underlying problems.
Cloud solution: Google Apps
A move to Google Apps cleared up the software problems by harmonising users across a suite of compatible cloud software for a monthly subscription fee. Hosted on Google servers, the website was moved to Google Sites while Google Docs' collaborative capabilities allowed users to respond to customer requests in real time on their iPhones. Since the IT infrastructure was cloud hosted, the virus problem plaguing the software was eliminated. Google Voice also helped with the firm's customer connection problem: calls could now be routed directly to mobile phones and addressed immediately.
First Mile Recycling: Lead Generation
First Mile Recycling provides recycling services for thousands of London businesses. Generating new leads was always key to the company's success - however, its past method of doing so was inefficient and inconsistent: leads weren't recorded properly, prioritised or followed-up on by the sales team, meaning a lot of potential business was lost. A new way of generating - and managing - leads was needed.
Cloud solution: Salesforce1 Platform
By incorporating Salesforce's Salesforce1 cloud platform, First Mile Recycling was able to modernise their entire customer relationship management strategy. Using the cloud, the mobile app allowed leads to be captured and shared in real time with members of the sales team - who could also check customer information, history, calendars and timetables on the shared online space. After integrating Salesforce1, First Mile Recycling reported an increase of four times the leads generated by their contact work.
The Bedroom: Accounting Efficiency
A small East Sussex bedding retailer, The Bedroom, needed a way to increase the efficiency of its bookkeeping processes. All accounting had previously been handled on versions of the Microsoft Office suite - and carried out by the store's owner herself. The process was time-consuming and laborious for a company with little time to spare.
Cloud Solution: Quickbooks
The Bedroom chose to shift their bookkeeping to Quickbooks: an accounting platform designed to allow users to complete bookkeeping duties with the benefit of cloud computing power. Users have access to easy-to-use accounting tools - including VAT, payroll records and customised invoices - available online and accessible anywhere. Quickbooks' features also include free user support, ideal for small business owners who don't have a lot of accounting experience. The Bedroom was able to export many bookkeeping duties to the Quickbooks platform, reducing its conventional accounting costs and saving time.
Are you planning your own cloud success story? Want to know what the cloud can do for you? Talk to Shackleton today.
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