Cloud computing: it’s not just for geeks anymore
Cloud computing is beginning to revolutionize how we access information in more aspects of our daily lives than most of us even realize. Whether it’s a conscious decision, such as workplace hosting solutions, or a solution to a specific need, like private storage of photographs on a third-party site, we are all using the cloud for many different purposes on a routine basis. If you’re still not sure what exactly defines “the cloud,” please check out this post for information we posted earlier this year.
How the cloud can cast a wider net
We’ve discussed a couple of different approaches to cloud computing and their influence on our day-to-day activities, specifically how it can impact companies by allowing employees to work from home and how it can influence the future of education. Today we’re going to throw a few new ideas out there.
One feature that we offer is the ability to access your files from any device at any time. So, let’s say that your company has information that needs to be delivered to a range of employees from the worker bee on up to the CEO. Your workers are out in the field interacting with your clients. It would be great for them to be able to access information and use that information in client interactions. This could certainly help people in a variety of industries. Here are a few examples:
Let’s say you’re a builder that uses blueprint software to come up with detailed plans for new structures. Wouldn’t it make life simpler when quoting a job to be able to access the software from a smartphone, laptop, or tablet? You could make changes to specific details as you go instead of estimating sizes, materials needed, cost, and more. And you could have multiple construction workers updating project files as they complete their various stages so you can always know exactly what has yet to be done and if any hang-ups have occurred.
Retail (inventory management)
Now let’s take a look at the possible ways a retail store could benefit from using the cloud. Assume for a moment that you own a mid-sized local chain store. There are several stores in a relatively close geographic location. You use a cloud-based inventory management system that automatically updates and deducts items from inventory once they’ve been sold. The system therefore is able to identify when you need to order items. But what if a customer comes in before you can replenish the item? With the cloud, you could avoid wasting time calling between the various stores to find out which stores might still have the item in stock because you can easily see which stores that still have the item.
Highly regulated industries
Companies in highly regulated industries such as health care, financial, and legal typically have very specific requirements they and their affiliates must adhere to, including IT services. These needs include things that are especially important, particularly when it comes to the security and privacy of clients’ data, such as health information, financial outlooks, or legal affairs. You need to be able to access and update client information quickly, and sometimes from an office or area that doesn’t access traditional computing methods. This is where the cloud comes into play. A cloud provider, such as us, adheres to industry specific security and compliance protocols.
One of our previous blog posts talked about the solutions we came up with for our client Stunkel Tax & Accounting. As a service provider, Wil decided to make his business paperless, virtual, and easily accessible from anywhere, and wanted to have multiple people able to work on the same project simultaneously from different locations. Many other service providers could also benefit from that same approach. For example, a real estate agent might want to be able to access home listing information, update things if corrections are needed, place offers on homes and launch lending requests for their clients from a home showing. An insurance agent would surely want to be able to access her software to be able to offer a rate quote based on things she sees in real time, or be able to make changes, submit claims, and estimate repair costs from the field without having to return to the office. A field employee for a utility company would be more efficient if he was able to remotely work to shut off live power lines that need work, or report in on a pipe that needs to be repaired, without having to call back to the main office.
How else might the cloud help your business?
What possibilities do you see as beneficial to your specific business? We’d love to hear your thoughts.