You are likely to have heard that many businesses are moving to the cloud. The benefits of the cloud are widely praised but what exactly the difference is between cloud technology and traditional methods is not always clear.
Many people will tell you that you must join the cloud. Across the UK large businesses and small are implementing cloud based solutions and you need to stay ahead of the curve. But if it’s not clear to you what the difference will be then how can you justify making the change? You need to know what exactly the difference is between the cloud and what we had before.
Typically when people talk about cloud based solutions they are talking about a specific aspect of the cloud, namely online software. This could be any software that runs online rather than on the physical computer on the desk in front of you. It could be a video game that runs on a remote computer, it could be online accounting software or it could be an entire operating system that runs on a different computer.
Running software on a remote computer brings a number of specific benefits that we will look at shortly. The cloud can also refer to data storage that occurs remotely. Because this is a slightly more straightforward system it has been integrating into our normal online activity more gradually over a longer period. Most of us have been storing data in the cloud for some time in the form of emails, music and documents.
Cloud Data storage has a number of immediate benefits. One of the most significant benefits is accessibility. When files are stored on a specific local computer they can only be accessed from that computer. When they are stored online they can be accessed from any computer that is connected to the internet. Not only does this mean you can access documents more easily but it also makes it much easier to share documents with others allowing for greater collaboration.
This particular benefit of online storage translates over to online software. Accessibility and collaborative work are much easier, simpler and more efficient with online software when compared to traditional offline software.
An example of this would be with online accounting software such as Big Red Cloud. With this style of accounting software you can easily access the software from any computer with an internet connection. You are no longer tied to one particular computer in one particular office.
But it also means you can easily share the work with others. For online accounting software this means that the work of keeping accounts can be shared among a group of people rather than leaving one person to cover all accounts work. This kind of collaborative accounting can have additional benefits such as fewer mistakes resulting from more people reviewing the work.
Possibly most importantly, online accounting software allows you to share your accounts with your accountant in as easy a manner as possible and equally accountants can share accounts with their clients.
Pre-email, an accountant would have to meet the client in person and physically go through the accounts and discuss them with the client. Even with email it is still not as efficient a process as it can be with online accounting software.
Accounts sent via email still have to be explained either by email or by phone. Keeping track of what has been sent and what it means is not straightforward. This is because email was not specifically designed for this task.
Online accounting software is designed for that task. All parties with access can see the same up to date accounts, laid out in their proper context. This means the whole process is as straightforward as possible with confusion minimised as much as possible.
Cloud solutions such as online accounting software provide many other benefits that include lower purchase costs and reduced maintenance costs.
Related: What can cloud do for your business?