The Real Reason You Should Move to the Cloud

NOTE: the Link Roundup is beneath this post.

The Real Reason You Should Move to the CloudI’ve got a big secret.

It’s not a scary or creepy one, but it underlies everything I do when it comes to work and the web and it’s the main reason why I have, and you should, make the move to the cloud.

You see, a lot of people out there believe that I’m a gear-head; that technology just comes easier to me than it does to them. In fact, if I had a nickel for every client, friend and family member who started a question with, “Since I’m not a techie like you…”, I’d be retired on a beach somewhere.

All my life I’ve just wanted technology to be easier to use and to maintain.

The truth is that while I am a techie, I’m not one because “technology comes easier to me”. No, I’m a techie because all my life I’ve just wanted technology to be easier to use and to maintain.

Easier to Use and to Maintain

I got into technology the old-fashioned way: gaming. Yes, I’m been addicted to games since way back in junior high when my family got our first Apple 2+.

That computer and I shared a love/hate relationship.

  1. I loved that computer, gray and clunky as it was. I spent hours upon hours in front of it playing game after game: solving puzzles, beating bosses, winning sporting events and becoming a hero.
  2. I hated that computer with its never-ending demand for upgrades that I had to buy in order to run the latest games. Putting in memory cards and playing with the insides of the box always freaked me out – I was never sure if the thing would start up again once I made a change and, if it didn’t, I faced long hours of troubleshooting.
Technology is great when it works but struggling to make it work, and keep it working can often drain both time and money.

This experience taught me a very fundamental lesson which has shaped the rest of my life: technology is great when it works but struggling to make it work, and keep it working, can often drain both time and money.

Learning to Avoid the Struggle

I took this early lesson to heart.

You see, every time I have needed to get something done at work (like creating a presentation) or at home (like managing and keeping a budget), the first thing I do is research the available solutions and tools.

Now, while I’m pretty handy with a pencil, technology often offers the most efficient and powerful way to get the job done. With that in mind, I typically do some exhaustive research to find the solution that will work for me.

Why do I expend so much effort? Because what I look for when I evaluate any technology is a specific balance between functionality and ease-of-use. Yes, I want the solution I select to be useful but also easy-to-use, maintain and upgrade.

Technology needs to be easy to use and maintain or it will become a drain on both time and money.

I learned my lesson on that old Apple 2+: technology needs to be easy to use and maintain or it will become a drain on both time and money.

My research efforts are the driver behind my reputation as a “techie”. Because, I learn A LOT about the technical solutions available, I can help others walk through the same selection process and thus, I have become a repository of knowledge on the easiest ways to get things done using technology.

But even with help, fighting the struggle continues to have a cost.

The Cost of the Struggle

For many years, the struggle to find just the right solution, one that had both the functionality needed and the ease-of-use desired, raged.

The worst part of these years for me was not my own personal struggle. Heck, I enjoy researching solutions to find just the right one (I’m just weird that way).

Any excessive time or money spent on the struggle to find a technical solution, to make that solution work for you and to maintain that solution is wasted time and money.

The worst part was watching my clients pay the cost of the struggle. Whether they were implementing a customized solution that cost millions of dollars or an off-the-shelf software solution that cost $19.95, I’ve seen millions if not billions of dollars in both time and money wasted.

Yes, wasted. That’s because any excessive time or money spent on the struggle to find a technical solution, to make that solution work for you and to maintain that solution is wasted time and money.

You should be spending the bulk of your time and money on your business, not on the things that make your business run.

The bottom line is that you should be spending the bulk of your time and money on your business, not on the things that make your business run.

You need technology that’s easier to use and maintain and finally, the cloud provides the answer.

You need to get new customers and delight the ones you already have – you don’t have the time and money to spend on struggling with technology and, if you do, you shouldn’t be spending it on that.

You need technology that’s easier to use and maintain and finally, the cloud provides the answer.

Finally!

(Not familiar with “The Cloud”? Watch my video, “What is the Cloud? (now with pictures!)”.)

If you’ve read any of my posts here at Matt About Business, you know that I am a huge proponent of using the cloud to market and sell your products and services, run your business and build professional relationships.

While there are many reasons to use cloud-based solutions, I believe that by far, the most rewarding are that they are much easier to use and take much less time and money to maintain.

The cloud finally takes the struggle and puts it where it belongs: on the vendors who developed and maintain the technical solution.

Yes, the cloud finally takes the struggle and puts it where it belongs: on the vendors who developed and maintain the technical solution.

As opposed to you, their business IS to create easy-to-use solutions and to maintain and upgrade those solutions. They have the expertise and the drive to do this because, as their customer, they want you to be delighted with their product.

Nice, eh?

I know I love the cloud because:

  • By using solutions in the cloud for everything from e-mail to billing to website development, I was finally able to get rid of my PC and now work exclusively on a Mac which is much more stable and pleasant to use;
  • The online solutions that I use (i.e. the ones I selected to use) were designed around web standards which means that usability and ease-of-use is never sacrificed for functionality and vice-verse;
  • I never have to worry about upgrading any of my software applications because the vendor takes care of that for me. The best part? The updates come much more frequently and typically add great new features and functionality;
  • My data is backed-up by the solution vendors so I am better protected from data loss; and
  • On a personal note, I now play my games on an XBOX 360 which is connected to the web and, instead of having to buy DVDs, my kids and I can watch movies, TV and anime streamed through my Roku, Mac, iPad or XBOX 360.

Great technology has never been easier to use and maintain and I now save my Apple 2+ stories for my “Dad had it hard when he was young” anecdotes.

What Are You Waiting For?

In the comments section below, I would love to hear your answer to either of these questions!

Well, that’s my story done and told. Now, how about you? In the comments section below, I would love to hear your answer to either of these questions:

  • If you’re not using the cloud to manage and market your business online, what one thing is stopping you?
  • If you are using cloud solutions for your business, do you love it, hate it or feel sorta’ wishy-washy about it?

Weekly Link Roundup

Weekly Link RoundupEach week, I collect the 10 best posts that I’ve read and share them with you here.

These posts focus on web-based solutions, online resources and up-to-date news for small businesses.

Enjoy!

12 New Year’s Marketing Resolutions You Can Actually Keep: Some really useful and actionable goals to shoot for in 2012.

Online Business Software is about Three Things: Service, Service & Service: The level of service I receive during a test-run of any online solution is one of my primary deciding factors when making the final selection. This post talks about how service is becoming a strong point of differentiation for many.

Best of Wordtracker 2011: A good collection of posts on SEO, link-building and content.

How to Self-Promote–Without Being Sleazy: This is often a challenge when using content marketing. Learn how to avoid the pitfalls.

The Best Business Apps Of 2011: A roundup of very handy apps.

Evaluating your end of year B2B marketing: Actionable tasks for measuring your B2B marketing strategy’s effectiveness – actually good to use all year ’round.

5 Ways to Use Google+ to Improve Your Search Engine Optimization: Actions to take to make the most of Google+ for SEO.

How 9 Retailers Successfully Leveraged Game Mechanics: I love gamification and these case studies show just how effective it can be!

5 Tricks from a LinkedIn Jedi: Some solid tips for making the most of LinkedIn.

Twitter Launches Brand Pages for Business Accounts: Looks interesting – I guess the rest of us will have to wait to play. :(

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Comments

  1. I own and operate self storage facilities. I am researching an iPad app for our industry that is easy for managers to use and frees them from their desktop. Self storage operators are notoriously hidebound to their PCs. Your article gives me another arrow in my quiver. Thanks.

  2. I still have some PC-based solutions – a BIG fan of Sage ACT! – but I now also use BatchBook and that will likely win in the end as I increasingly become more Cloud-based. Interestingly, to your point, I’m nearing the time for a new computer and have been eyeing Mac – mostly because since moving over to the iphone and ipad I love the simplicity of Apple tools. So, I may go hook-line-and-sinker soon. Thanks for the info!

    • Keith,

      Yep, it’s hard to let go of the old standbys and honestly, there are still a number of desktop apps that I use often (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, Camtasia). However, if the trend continues, I’m sure I’ll be using online versions of those one day as well. Sure lowers the requirements for my local computer (i.e. cheaper)!

      As to the Mac, very happy I made the decision – have not regretted it once. Have the iPad – the iPhone will be my final cutover when it’s time to trade in. :)

      -Matt

  3. Matt, great comments on the cloud. You’re absolutely right with your points about ease of use, freedom from upgrading software applications and saving time and money. I work for Symantec and we’ve found that our cloud security customers definitely see the benefit of instant updates – they know they are protected from the latest threats and they don’t have to spend time updating security software on every endpoint. I’d add that for SMBs, SaaS solutions offer the underlying benefit of freeing SMB owners to focus on innovation and those tasks that will help their business grow, instead of spending hours on IT issues that shouldn’t be sucking their time.

    Chris Halcon
    Symantec

    • Thanks for your insights into how the cloud positively impacts your customers Chris!

      I especially agree with your last thought. Business owners should not be focused on software; they should be focused on gaining new customers and delighting the ones they already have.

      -Matt

  4. Matt, like you, I love the cloud. Yet, many are still having objections simply because they don’t understand what it’s really all about.. and some don’t even realize that they’re already utilizing cloud services when they access their emails or data anywhere with the use of mobile devices. I think that one of the main concerns is security, especially on an enterprise level. Just a thought. Thanks for the weekly link roundup anyway!

    • Shaleen,

      I absolutely agree – when it comes to the cloud, security is everyone’s #1 concern.

      The truth is however, these days your banking data, your credit card data and your government data (such as SS#) is all accessible via the web so you’re already out there (whether you want to be or not).

      Take a look at my post “The Elephant in the Cloud – How Safe is Your Data?” (http://www.mattaboutbusiness.com/the-elephant-in-the-cloud-how-safe-is-your-data/) where I discuss this topic in more depth.

      One important note for anyone reading this comment: if you run a business where confidentiality is regulated (such as law, medicine, insurance and securities/financial products), then you should look into the rules that govern your industry before jumping into the cloud or SAAS.

      -Matt

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  1. BizSugar.com says:

    The Real Reason You Should Move to the Cloud…

    You need technology that’s easier to use and maintain. Finally, a move to the cloud provides the answer. Learn more in this post….

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