Wake up to the potential of operating in the cloud

Many managing to keep afloat are recording falls in revenue. A recent survey carried out by salesforce.com found that the recession has had a severe impact on the UK’s SMEs, with 23% of respondents recording a fall in annual revenues of 20-50% and 22% indicating a 10-20% fall. Increasingly, SMEs are looking to IT to provide the solution to their problems.
As an SME yourself, you will be aware of the challenges. You are likely to have hundreds of contacts and interactions to track and manage, new deals to pursue and close and existing customer relationships to cultivate and maintain. How do you overcome these complex problems while maintaining a positive focus on your core business?
It may be difficult to find the answer in traditional server-based IT infrastructures. Many SMEs have been promised systems that drive revenue generation and competitive edge but are instead lumbered with solutions that are expensive, unwieldy and fail to deliver expected value and return on investment.
An alternative approach you may not have considered is cloud computing which allows applications,  documents, emails and business data to be accessed online or ‘in the cloud’ from any PC, laptop or mobile device, in real-time.   
Cloud computing offers attractive benefits to SMEs. Applications require no more infrastructure than an internet connection and can even work wirelessly on a range of mobile devices. This capability will enable your organisation to greatly reduce upfront capital expense – a key consideration in the current climate. 
By switching to cloud computing, you can also cut maintenance costs because services and applications run from inside a web server. Equally, unlike other more traditional client-server approaches, cloud applications do not consume your valuable internal resources.  Instead, your IT person or team can now focus on deploying more applications or delivering new projects that drive business benefits and innovation.
Speed of implementation and upgrade is another key benefit. For SMEs, the ability to respond quickly to opportunity or threat can be a key differentiator. Cloud computing helps to facilitate this agility.
Cloud-based applications can be operational in a few days. In addition, migrating to this approach allows you to scale up or down immediately, safe in the knowledge that your applications are receiving security and performance enhancements automatically at no additional cost.
This instant scalability and pay-as-you-go provisioning means companies can adjust their usage to their current requirements. In today’s difficult economic conditions, that constitutes a compelling benefit, especially for SMEs. Software tools delivered via the internet also enable users to be more mobile, and as a result, are no longer tied to particular desktop PCs where specific software is installed. 
Today’s SMEs are focused on boosting productivity, driving innovation and finding a way out of the recession. Now is an ideal time for them to switch to cloud computing.