As I mentioned in in my post, The Elephant in the Cloud – How Safe is Your Data?, many business and technology pundits are calling 2011 the “Year of the Cloud”.
But what does the cloud really mean for a business, and to a small businesses in particular? Why should you care about cloud computing and software as a service (SAAS), when you’re a small business with few employees or a solopreneur out there on your own?
These are great questions, and over the next 9 “Talk About Business” posts, I will do my best to answer them.
Why? Because, security concerns aside (again, see The Elephant in the Cloud – How Safe is Your Data?), using the cloud just makes so much sense for a business, especially a small business, and it’s all due what I call the “Running Your Business Online Value Statement”:
Running Your Business Online Value Statement
Getting business done online not only saves you time and money, but it exponentially increases those savings by enabling you to change the way you get things done in ways that were not previously possible
Over the next 9 posts, I’m going to pick apart this statement piece by piece so you can see all the yummy value packed within. Each post will feature a “Value Component” which, when taken together, make up the statement presented above.
Introduction to the Cloud and SAAS
If you’re not familiar with cloud computing or with software-as-a-service (SAAS), no worries! For the sake of this series, you just need to know that I am talking about online software, tools and sites which you can use to run your business.
Examples of SAAS solutions include online software for accounting, project management, collaboration, mindmapping, customer relationship management and much, much more.
According to industry data, as well as personal observation, more and more businesses are indeed making use of online software tools and sites to manage their businesses, work together and interact with customers.
And it’s not just an online business thing! Offline “brick-and-mortar” businesses, can also leverage the cloud and SAAS to manage their day-to-day activities online. This is not a call to move an entire business online; it’s just an approach to managing a business which saves time, money and a lot of frustration.
As we move through this series, I’m going to provide “real-world” examples in the form of a case study. This approach is intended to provide a solid demonstration of each of the separate “Value Components” which make up the “Running Your Business Online Value Statement”.
Sally owns a small public relations firm. She often writes press releases for her clients, but is finding that the approval process, the back-and-forth with her clients, has become very time-consuming.
Currently, the approval process Sally uses looks like this:
- Sally writes a release and sends it to Client A via e-mail for review.
- Client A reviews the document and then e-mails Sally with a time that they can meet, either in person or on the phone, to review the document.
- Sally e-mails Client A back with a different time because she is meeting with Client B at the time Client A wanted to meet.
- Client A e-mails Sally back with yet another time to meet because Client A is busy at the new time Sally had suggested.
- Sally e-mails Client A back saying that the new meeting time will work. She is relieved that it only took four e-mails to set up the meeting; often it takes many more.
- Sally and Client A meet and review the document together.
- Sally revises the press release and sends it to her Client A via e-mail for review.
- Back to step 2 and through the process again for as many revisions as it takes.
Just finding a time to meet with a client for a review is a time-consuming process. Then Sally had to take time out of her schedule to meet with the client to hold the review.
Keep in mind, meeting with clients is important to Sally, but she would rather spend the time talking strategy, new campaigns and other important details. Reviewing press releases does not fall into the “must have a meeting” category.
Sally needs an approach that will let her take her time back and use it on high-value tasks.
Join us next time to begin learning how Sally resolves her dilemma using SAAS in the cloud.