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Are small businesses embracing the cloud?

This week Optus announced a new partnership with Google to offer Google Apps for Business as part of its range of digital business solutions for small and medium business customers. A quick poll by Dynamicbusiness.com.au found many SMEs are already embracing Google Apps including email, calendar, office applications, instant messaging, collaboration and video conferencing.

Amber Dermoudy from Betty Lifestyle Assistants in Brisbane, says: “For a small business owner, especially someone like me who was creating a concept into a start-up, it was imperative for me to have a tool that was functional, time saving and cost effective that would still enable me to compete with larger brands and companies with bigger budgets.

“I did some research and asked around and truly I couldn’t find any other tool that would was more suited to an SME than Google Apps. I’m constantly moving, whether it’s travelling interstate or meeting with new clients and I can access Google Apps from anywhere, doesn’t have to be my specific computer. It works great on smartphones too.”

Dermoudy has found countless benefits to using Google Apps. She adds: “I can share and view my staff’s movements and appointments via the calendar and if I’m going to be in a meeting all day I can give my assistant full access to my emails so he can respond on my behalf. All our templates, standard documents and client agreements are all saved in Google Docs so again we have access to these at all times and creating and organising events is a breeze. We are professional organisers by trade, and in all honestly I don’t think we could be as organised as we are without the amazing features provided by Google Apps!”

Rohan Ganeson, managing director of Optus Small and Medium Business, says: “Our aim is to provide SMBs with an integrated suite of cloud-based business tools that enables them to connect, manage and promote their business more cost effectively. Whether it’s establishing an online presence, collaborating within the business or reaching new customers, SMBs don’t have to worry about maintaining the back-end IT systems. We are providing small businesses with the tools and support that big businesses have at their disposal today.”

Online entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan has long been a fan of the cloud and it’s integral to his business. He told us: “At Kogan we use Google Apps to streamline our business, make our operation more efficient and pass the savings on to our customers. Google Apps allows us to run an entirely paperless office, find any customer transaction within seconds and operate our business entirely in the cloud.”

He adds: “One of the biggest benefits of integrating Google Apps into all levels of your business is you’ll instantly have a truly mobile workforce. No matter what smartphone, laptop or desktop your staff use, Google Apps will make working anywhere in the world a no-brainer. This workforce also becomes instantly scalable. We could triple the Kogan workforce overnight and not have to invest in any IT infrastructure. With Google Apps you just pay for what you use.”

And if that isn’t reason enough, he boldly claims: “Our office could burn down tonight and we’d still be 100 percent operational tomorrow. Our workforce could operate from anywhere with an internet connection, thanks to Google Apps.”

Doug Farber, managing director for Google’s Asia-Pacific enterprise division, says: “Australian SMBs often would like to invest in better communication and collaboration tools, but they assume that it’s too expensive or complicated. Our association with Optus aims to remove these barriers. We’re bringing together Google’s cloud technology with Optus’ business solutions, service and distribution network to provide small business owners an innovative yet easy-to-use offering.”

The commercial terms and conditions of the agreement are confidential and product and pricing details will be announced closer to launch in Quarter 2. For more information, you can visit www.optus.com.au/googleapps

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Jen Bishop

Jen Bishop

Jen was the publisher at Loyalty Media and editor of Dynamic Business, Australia's largest circulating small business magazine, from 2008 until 2012. She is now a full-time blogger at The Interiors Addict.

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