Why these clouds aren’t bringing stormy weather

Cloud references in business have historically been connected with negative connotations. ‘Stormy weather ahead’ headlines blasted from our daily newspapers often go on to talk about economic doom and gloom, and its impact on business.

Until now. The latest cloud buzz word is cloud technology, and it’s about to change the way we do business. In a really great way.

So what exactly is ‘the cloud’? While vested interests are doing their best to mould cloud technology into a singular product that can be swiftly marketed and sold, it’s far beyond such a restricted and ‘fluffy’ description. The cloud isn’t just a new product, coming to a local IT retailer near you. We need to move beyond the marketing hype and understand the benefits that cloud technology will bring to the way we do business.

In purely simplistic terms, the cloud is the ability to share resources, storing data and information online. It involves infrastructure all working together; the internet, a device, software. If you look at what this means for business owners, it’s opening up the door to a global workplace, where people can custom fit working solutions to suit their business, and their lifestyle.

The late Steve Jobs had a much more modern view on the cloud. He believed that it enhanced good software, rather than formed the basis of the software itself. His vision for the future of the cloud would see the power of local devices coupled with a platform in the cloud, intelligently delivering data and connections. This vision is finally coming to life, with the recently released iCloud, which adds functionality and storage to Apple’s range of iDevices. And at MYOB it would be fair to say our approach to the cloud has been heavily informed by Apple’s lead.

Beware any definition that offers up the simplistic ‘100% pure cloud’ view. There’s no such thing. In much the same way as there are millions of uses of electricity, there are millions of opportunities for utilising the capabilities of cloud technology.

The ability to access our data in the cloud with a device of our choosing is opening up unprecedented convenience and freedom. Business owners can access data from the cloud, with a device of their choosing.  For many Australian SME’s, this might look like a computer or laptop in the office.  A tablet or smart phone on the road or even via the family PC’s internet browser on the weekends.

It will also herald the changing of our relationships with our business advisors, such as our accountant. With cloud technology, they can access our data and our records in real time, in turn, being able to provide real time support and advice along our business journey.

While there’s speculation about SME uptake of cloud technology, I think that with a little time and understanding, Aussie business owners are looking at one of the most incredible opportunities to increase productivity, and custom build their working lives.  Sure, the prospect of keeping your data online might seem a little scary at first, but think back to the first time you heard of online banking?  Bet you were worried about the potential security risks.  But if you’re anything like me, you now use it daily, without a second thought.

Are you excited about cloud technology? What capabilities do you think will be the most beneficial for your business?

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