We all love having complete control over the technology we use in business, but there “does” come a time when stepping back and letting others do what they do best so you can concentrate on doing what you do best just makes sense!
© Dmitry – Fotolia
When a small business first starts out most owners are wanting to conserve cash so they will often follow a similar pattern and want to do as many things themselves as they can.
They might want to run their own email server onsite for their company email so an IT provider would put in a server running Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) or some other email server running on a PC or Server …
They might also want to run some sort of accounting package so they’ll load up something like QuickBooks or Simply Accounting on a PC or network it on a server in the office …
They might also want to run a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool of some sort so they’ll go out and get a piece of software for that as well as load it on a server or PC onsite …
… and so on … and so on … and so on …
Pretty soon you have a set up in place where you have a number of different applications as well as all their data running on hardware at your place of business and now you have to make sure it’s all backed up and managed.
You’ve also got to make sure that you have expertise available onsite or readily available to administer these applications and ensure software is updated and they are operating with peak performance!
What if there was possibly a better way?
When it comes to running a successful business one could very easily make a case that you want to “reduce” the number of variables you need to manage rather than “increase” them … True?
If you make the best fishing rods on the planet it would be best if you could just concentrate on making fishing rods and that’s it … True?
Let’s take a look at a few core technology items that many people run themselves as well as some options for moving those items to the cloud and offloading the operation of those items …
There are a number of options out there today, and we actually covered this topic in depth in another article entitled Am I Safe To Move My E-Mail To The Cloud?
Google has their Google Apps For Business which provides robust enterprise class email services for business
There are a number of Hosted Microsoft Exchange providers out there as well such as Sherweb, Intermedia, Microsoft Hosted Exchange Online and I’m sure there are lots of others as well. If hosted Microsoft Exchange is something you’d like to consider other … we’ve written an articles about things to look when picking a hosted Exchange provider entitled How Do I Pick A Great Hosted Exchange E-Mail Service Provider?
The main thing is that there are a ton of options out there that will allow you to simply connect and use!
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
In short, CRM is a way to keep track of all your customers, partners, sales leads, notes…etc…etc
Popular apps for this kind of function used to be installed versions of apps like Maximizer, GoldMine, ACT and others. The apps get installed on a desktop somewhere in the office, or a server, and then it’s shared out with other staff.
All of the above mentioned vendors have both installed versions “AND” cloud based versions now so that you no longer need to run it yourself. I’d encourage you to check them out
You also have players in the industry like SalesForce.com and Microsoft Dynamics which offer very robust cloud based CRM functionality as well.
People are used to using packages like QuickBooks or Simply Account (SAGE) in Canada that are loaded on a PC or Server and possibly shared out with others in the office.
Both of these vendors also offer cloud versions of their software that you interact with using a simple web browser.
If you “are” considering a switch to an online version, do check with your accountant as to timing as usually a year end is the best time to make a switch.
This is obviously a very in depth topic. The sole focus of this article is simply to get you thinking about the fact that there “are” options out there to consider so go check em out!
I’d really love to hear your opinion! If you have any questions or comments please reach out using one of the methods on our CONTACT page and I’ll forward to hearing from you!
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