Depending on your age and level of experience in the business world, you might recall the old days of technology when setting up a server in your office to handle email and document storage was something you’d pay a lot of money for. And then you’d pay for a service contract for those times when your server crashed and everything went with it. Not so long ago, every small business had a server in a back room handling everything, along with expensive software licenses for things like Outlook and Exchange, Office and other productivity applications.
Today? Forget it: You don’t need anything like it any more. Your small business doesn’t even need the relatively inexpensive desktop and laptop computers for your staff any more. A combination of Cloud Services and “dumb terminals” like the Chrome-book mean you can outfit your whole staff with the latest computing power cheaply and without any significant hardware investment at all. The Cloud is here, friends, and it’s perfect for businesses of all sizes.
No More License Fees
A few years ago any serious office needed Microsoft Office to function, and those licenses were not cheap. Ask yourself if that’s really true for you today, though. Yes, some businesses have complex templates and macro-based applications developed for Office, and as a result may be tied down to the software at least for the moment. But if you use productivity software mainly for simple word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet uses, you simply don’t need Microsoft Office. Use a free alternative like Libre Office instead – or, better yet, use Google Docs. Cloud-based, with just enough features for basic use, and 100% shareable. No installations to maintain, no license fees to pay, and your employees can access and work on collaborative documents from anywhere, at any time, with full version control and comment tools.
No More Hard Drives
Why pay money for a file server when you can just store everything in the cloud – and why pay for the horsepower of a desktop or laptop computer when you can buy a Chromebook for much less money? Chromebooks are essentially dumb terminals, meaning they don’t have much memory, storage space, or pre-installed software. They are designed to connect to Cloud services and run applications that way. As a result, they are lightweight and very cheap, but offer the same power and productivity as a traditional laptop or desktop computer.
However, one huge advantage aside from price is that Chrome-books don’t go out of date in the same way. We all know that shortly after buying our employees new computers they begin to complain about slow performance, hard drives filling up, and inability to upgrade to the newest versions of software. With a Chrome-book or similar dumb device, none of that is an issue: Your Cloud is its hard drive, and The Cloud is also its software. When you upgrade a tool in The Cloud it automatically upgrades for all of your employees.
The Cloud is here. It’s not perfect – but then the current way of doing things isn’t perfect either. What the Cloud is, however, is cheaper and just as powerful. If the time has come to upgrade your IT equipment, take a long look at a transition to Cloud services instead. Chances are the numbers will make sense.