Managing your business in the cloud

The Cloud has changed the way that most companies do business but the software as a service model, or SaaS for short, as had a particular effect on the way that software provider supply their software packages to companies by allowing them to adopt a pay as you use model rather than the pay upfront model that software providers had used for many years.

This has enabled customers to have more say in what software they use and has made it more easy for companies to be able to manage their business by providing the services that they need without having to pay extortionate amounts of money to obtain it. 

The traditional scenario of a business having to buy a copy of a piece of software and software licenses and then having to install them onto each machine where that package that could potentially be used has started to be replaced by the SaaS model where the software is available over the internet via a web browser or through an application on a smartphone and tablet.

This enables a company to effectively loan a piece of software for the number of users that they want to use the software rather than the machines that they will be run on, so if you have 10 members of staff that will be using the software you only have to buy a 10 users licenses and they are able to use the software wherever they want (pc, smartphone or tablet)  without having to pay an extra charge for using more devices.

Also where updates of software used to be a problem for IT departments they no longer have to go around every computer or use network administration tools to install the software it is done automatically by the SaaS provider so that everyone has the latest version of the software the next time that they log into the system, saving a company time and money that could be better focused elsewhere.

The upside of using software as a service is that you tend to only pay for the services that you need when you need them and can cancel or increase them when you dont, because of this you chop and change without being tied into a vendor. The downside of course is that if you lose your internet connection the software may stop working, which could be disastrous if it happens at the wrong time (such as in the middle of an important meeting with a client). 

The various tools that this covers includes:

Project Management tools are designed to help you with the monitoring and control of projects and can personel and stock management, enable online tools that can provide teams based environments so that team members know what they have to do and by when they have to do it.

Software as a Service Office Suites One of the most expensive pieces of software that a company has top buy is its office software, using cloud based office products mean that they can be used from anywhere (even mobile devices) and are always kept upto date with the latest versions. In a lot of cases you can also export your reports and documents in the format that you require.

Cloud Management Tools Most tools that you need to use to manage your business, from financial, marketing and customer relationship management system can now be efficiently and effectively be used to manage the relationship between your company and your customers and they help you to monitor quotations, orders, payments, stock control and even client payments. 

Online data backup and cloud storage solutions One of the problems with working in an agile way can bring is that sometimes your data can be spread all over the place and in different services by using cloud storage solutions you are effectively ensuring that all of your data is stored and backup into one place and because it is online and can be accessed from anywhere that you no longer have to worry about keeping multiple copies in different places incase of fire.

The Agile Office Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund