How SMEs can benefit from the cloud

Susan Holmes, IT director at investment vehicle for small businesses Angels Den, discusses some of the advantages of cloud computing for fast-growing small businesses 

Our recent decision to migrate to the cloud was driven by our rapid speed of growth and wanting to streamline the process of opening new regional offices. Previously, we used an in-house CRM system which offered no integration. This made setting up new offices complex and time-consuming.

The advantage for a small business in moving to the cloud is that it allows them to effectively reproduce their business model in each new site they take on.

For example, using Salesforce CRM allows us to replicate our existing business processes in newly-established offices, enabling us to achieve a consistent approach across the whole organisation that is scalable as we grow.  

With a traditional client-server model you typically have to deal with time-consuming administrative and technical issues before you can set up a new region. Using the cloud model allows you to save money because the need for infrastructure, upfront capital expense and on-going maintenance costs are greatly reduced.

Working in the cloud also makes it easier for work to be delegated from head office to the regional sites, (primarily because communications can easily be automated), relieving the administrative pressure on head office as a direct result.

This enhanced flexibility and business agility that cloud computing supports brings a range of additional benefits to SMEs, helping them, for example, to continuously improve the customer experience, plan sales strategy, track sales performance by region and ensure branding is consistent.