Once upon a time, enterprise-grade technology was well out of reach for small business. It required custom installation and a team of IT staff to support it. As a small business owner, you invested in software and infrastructure aimed at your market. This typically simplified features but also limited functionality.
The advent of cloud has changed all that. Instead of having to wear the cost of hardware installation, software licenses and ongoing maintenance, you can use internet-based services to access the functionality you need without the hefty upfront cost. With predictable monthly payments, features that were once prohibitively expensive are now within reach.
Internet-based telephony packages are a great example. This saves money because your data and voice services are on the same network, sparing you the cost of a separate phone line. Calls are also cheaper and you can access a range of additional features such as conference calls and voicemail-to-email that would usually cost extra.
Cloud computing allows you to deploy the same systems that are used by Fortune 500 companies, only scaled to the size you need. You just choose your level in the same way you pick your phone plan, with the option to add in other features as needed.
If you have employees, business partners and important customers spread across different cities, states or countries, you can save on travel costs by allowing everyone to collaborate online instead of in face-to-face meetings.
Beyond The Cloud
If the idea of monthly payments instead of upfront investment appeals, you can use the same model with an office productivity bundle. This combines your cloud-based software, communications and storage with the hardware you need to run it. It gives you the buying power of a larger operation, and since your service provider takes care of support, it’s like having your own IT department.
Once you’ve filled out a form about the devices, functions and level of access a new employee needs, you’re good to go. They just need to log on – wherever they are and whatever device they’re using – and they can start work immediately.
If you need support, there’s a single number to call for help. This means you don’t waste time figuring out the nature of the problem and who you need to call to manage it. With everything from patch management to preventative maintenance included, it’s like having your own IT department but without the price tag.
Better yet, the single monthly bill for all hardware, software and services means you’ll always have a handle on what you’re spending.
These days, that you no longer need to be the biggest dog in the yard to grab your fair share of the market.
Tasso Mangos is CTO & Technology Strategist at CSG Limited