According to Forbes Insights: Collaboration in the Cloud,the ability to mingle across geographical parameters, time zones, or even organizational borders is becoming an ever more critical foundation of success.
The cloud has reached a place where it has become an integral part of our everyday work-lives. Based on its affordability and colossal effectiveness, modern entrepreneurs are using cloud services to build and run their small businesses, while working with people from different parts of the globe. In fact, collaborative work based on cloud technology has already proved its competency in bringing your most diverse teams together.
By working together on on-site and off-site documents alike, cloud collaboration tools allow your team members to ingress, edit and even share files outside of the company firewall.
Thanks to the growing practices of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and remote employment, cloud tools are fast becoming permanent features of the contemporary workplace. Modern-day workforce wants to move and communicate easily between various devices and cloud collaboration helps them to do that.
Despite the increasing trend of cloud collaboration to amplify business productivity, many small businesses are yet to understand its benefits. According to the report published by Endurance International Group, many entrepreneurial ventures fail to take advantage of the significant advances in cloud collaboration technology and are also “unfamiliar with some of the most advantageous online tools.”
The study also found that even though one-third of the respondents had heard of the term, they were unsure of what cloud computing actually meant. While 11 percent of the group said they rely on cloud collaboration for their business functioning, 67 percent of people admitted to not having invested in the technology yet.
As a business person, if you too are thinking of investing in cloud tools for collaboration, here are the five basic benefits of the practice for start-ups and their teams.
- Easy Deployment & Maintenance
SaaS (software as a service) collaborative solutions, often requiring little more than a license activation to get you up and running, are easy to install and maintain – with no unnecessary software downloads or costly, time-consuming hardware installations.
Often by simply entering an email address, you can test a cloud-based collaboration product with a free trial. By taking advantage of free trials, you can be more confident when it comes time to purchase.
- Cost Effective
Many of the cloud collaboration perks are linked to its cost-effectiveness. Unlike the age-old, on premise software, you don’t have to invest in pricey infrastructure with cloud-based collaborative tools. They also eradicate the need for expensive customization and heavy IT involvement.
Following the pay-as-you-go model, cloud collaboration is indeed a cost effective solution for tech-businesses.
The computer billing method, under this utility, only requires you to pay for procured, rather than actual computer resources. This means, instead of paying for an entire infrastructure in the case of in-house IT department, you only have to pay for the services used in a given month.
Since cloud-based collaboration allows employees to work from remote locations, you can actually cut off office overheads, making it especially beneficial for entrepreneurial ventures that usually have a strict work budget.
After subtracting the upfront and extensive capital expense, you can also mitigate project risk by using cloud technology to your advantage. Everything is web-based, which means no time-consuming installation, system configuration or maintenance involved either. Thus, as a part of tech-service industry, you don’t have to bother about constant updates or server upkeep.
- Boosts The Project Management Process
The ability to connect people to share information when it’s most needed is one of the key advantages of cloud collaboration tools. Besides, it helps businesses streamline the documentation process by keeping all project related files within the same workspace, allowing them to manage everything in a single domain; the cloud.
With these collaborative project management tools, you can retain archived versions of all your information and update them in real time. Additionally, your team members can add tasks and comments to each file, providing you with a detailed audit trail of all project related interactions. You can even create and manage task lists, making your overall project management much faster and simpler.
According to a 2014 Software Advice study, thousands of interviewed buyers, shopping for the right project management tool, revealed that around 46% of small business consumers were using manual methods like email, pens, papers and Excel.
But companies that have a cloud-based deployment preference voted for cloud solutions over on-site disposal. And the biggest chunk, around 98% of them looked for project management as one of the integrated services in their cloud collaboration tools.
The challenging aspect of projecting across various stand-alone platforms makes the reason behind such preferences quite obvious. Nonetheless, the key is to find a collaborative tool that helps you create and manage milestones and goals seamlessly to keep your project on track.
- Syncing Files & Data
By hosting the on-going project documents, shareable records, presentations and more in the cloud, your files are automatically synced and available from any of your devices. Without any additional action required to access the file, a presentation can be uploaded from your work computer and further presented from your tablet at home. You can also easily share documents with your co-workers without the need to remain in the same office.
- Greater Scalability
Cloud based technologies are famously known for their flexibility and scalability. Using a cloud-based collaboration tool, you can start small and add on the resources as the demand increases. It is often the case for start-ups that the number of participants and the volume of contributions increase rapidly in-between projects. Under cloud collaboration, it becomes easier to cater to such growing demands without adding much cost.
The most important benefit of cloud tools is they allow you to scale for users, workload and adoption. You can, therefore, accommodate the growth seamlessly. Without making any infrastructure investment, you only have to pay for additional storage and users as you need them.
Additionally, you can manage peaks in demand by automatically allocating managing team performance and capacity when facing data-intensive periods. This helps you achieve greater organizational agility.
- In Conclusion
The outlook of cloud collaboration is such that it serves companies and the mobile workforce with multiple locations and allows remote workers to access information seamlessly across devices, helping them to become more productive at work.
Upon understanding the real benefits of cloud collaboration, you will also realise that its goal is to provide a natural working experience with your team members, even when that’s not the case.