Airline flying into the cloud

American airline Delta has announced that it expects to turn all its cockpits paperless by the end of 2014.

The airline will equip its 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablets, which it said will help them save up to $13 million per year in fuel and associated costs by eliminating the need for hefty flight bags carried by pilots.

Captain Steve Dickson, Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, said that equipping pilots with the tablet device will give them easier access to information.

“By eliminating paper, we’ll reduce clutter and minimise time spent looking for flight information, allowing our pilots the opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground,” Dickson said.

Delta is just one of a growing number of businesses embracing the switch to digital. The rise of new devices, the BYOD trend and the cloud mean that the near-paperless office may not be far away.

If you’re thinking of embracing everything digital, here are some things to remember:

Upgrade your tech

New hardware and software is released constantly – it always seems that as soon as you buy a device, a new model is sure to pop up a few months later. Of course, it’s impossible to keep upgrading with every new release, but it’s also important to make sure your business tech isn’t getting too dusty either.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that its support for Windows XP and Office 2003 would be ending in April 2014. Given that many small businesses don’t have a dedicated IT worker on board to help with every little tech problem (and we all know how many there can be), the costs of getting caught out with old technology no longer supported by its manufacturer can add up.

Backup and disaster recovery

Backing up data is perhaps the most important part of operating a business digitally, but an alarming amount of business owners have it down the bottom of their to do list. The keys to an effective backup system are to have a backup offsite, or in the cloud, and test your backups regularly to make sure they’re working effectively.

Embrace the cloud

From making accounting easier to helping tradies on the job, it seems like the cloud can do anything these days. It’s worthwhile researching what aspects of your business the cloud can help you manage, whether it’s your accounting, CRM, an e-commerce platform, or all of them.

If you’re not completely convinced about the cloud yet, you can also consider a hybrid cloud strategy.

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