Cloud Computing for business

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Chances are you are sat in front of your computer with a few things open. Outlook, Your specific business program and the internet. Alongside you is the trusted landline telephone and then your mobile device of choice. That’s you all set up to deal with the world of work and connection to the outside world. Remember years ago when you first started work? If you’re as old as I am then remember email being something futuristic that “possible wouldn’t change how you work”. Your fine in the comfort zone of using the phone and sending the all-important fax quotation that would win you business. Anyone need to get hold of you? Get me on the landline number please!

Then what happened? You had a computer sat in the middle of all the employees that only 1 person at a time could access and only 1 email address for the whole company.. I don’t need to tell you what happened next but suffice to say that it changed the way we work. Thinking about email now, it’s a given that we use it. But how old school is the simple landline and trusted email now as a form of communication to colleagues, customers and friends?

The telephone and email is still a big part of our work lives but in the fast and ever expanding world of business, in some instances it now just not cutting the mustard compared to the business competition and here’s why.

While you are sat in the office waiting for a phone call or mail to come in from a customer about a proposal you sent across and clicking send receive….a competitor is possibly instant messaging the client and discussing further points in real time or even one step further and having a video chat whilst document sharing and both making amends in real time. These are the new forms of communication businesses are using.

The phone and email are still here, but now there are richer additions to the service like Instant messaging, video calling from your desktop/laptop, live document sharing and whiteboard facilities, presence and they are all aimed at making you more resourceful, flexible, efficient and ahead of the competition.

In a way this richer form of communication is similar to what happened to fax years ago. The same thing is about to blow up in the world of the trusted desk phone. Can people be bothered to pick up the phone dial a number? Maybe you can, but people are now clicking to call out of Outlook. None of this is brand new this technology. Its been around for ages but its getting even richer and easier to use on multiple devices with the advance of mobile technology. Remember that computer in the middle of the room with one email address. Well in the telecoms world we are at the equivalent of your MD getting email to his or her desktop and finding out how powerful it is. The point is..you will have this technology soon and there’s a reason for it….Cloud Computing.

Technology is evolving rapidly and its now much easier and cost effective for a smaller company to take advantage of technology. The word “Cloud Computing” has been smashed around now for a while, and on a basic level for SMB’s it simply means how you pay for your telecoms service has changed. Gone are the days when you had to pay out lump sums for a telephone system. Cloud Computing model now enables a start-up to pay per user per month to have an amazing and slick communications technology that I have mentioned. Regardless of what others say positively or negatively about it, the simple fact is that in the telecoms world you can now have the richer forms of communication I talk about and not have to invest in big expensive servers and switches.

These methods of communication such as IM , video , voice, conferencing, doc sharing have been around for a while but have always been similar to the old email 1 pc in the middle of the room scenario. Take Video Conferencing. You may not even use it right now or if you do chances are it’s a dust gathering piece of kit in the boardroom that was used 1 a year but lets be honest…this is an amazing form of communication. There’s no better form of communication  than seeing the person you’re dealing with. It’s the richest of the richest forms of communication barring an on site visit so why should it be only done once a year. In the world of business my old boss who I admire greatly told me that business is all about the relationship and I think its true. Some customers I deal with become friends over time and you speak to these people week in week out. To build the relationship deeper the old school mentality was “go and get a visit in to meet them face to face”. Old school! Truth is, in the world of business, travel budgets are shrinking. We are all becoming greener.

The trusted telephone system is evolving. Or should I say the communication options are evolving. The telephone system will still, in the foreseeable future be our trusted ally but it won’t be a CAPEX eating piece of kit in a cold room anymore and may slowly start to play second fiddle to new technology. With IM taking off within the world of business do we really need to pick up the phone and ring Carol in the Manchester office to find out if a customer has paid an invoice to release the next order or even compose an email and click send then wait for her to get to it at the end of the day and by that time your client has placed an order somewhere else. Nope. Simply IM Carol and within seconds you have an answer. Take it step further and video call Carol. Take it a step further and Carol will share the accounts of your customer while you are on a Video call with her.

Methods of communication are changing. Are you keeping up with the competition?

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