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To Use Cloud Technology or Not – That is the Question

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To Use Cloud Technology or Not – That is the Question

We hear so much these days about moving to the cloud and using cloud technology that you would think ‘The Cloud’ is actually this amazing person or entity who can make everything better.

Now while there is some validity to that, many people (including myself) are cautious to truly embrace this new technology concept. We are cautious because of security/privacy concerns; and there is so much information and choice out there about what software to utilise, that the easier decision is to stay where you are because the research process can be quite overwhelming.

And like anything relating to technology, it isn’t going away and is something we need to slowly embrace to increase profitability and productivity in any small business.

But rather than just jump in feet first and then wonder why implementation hasn’t worked or gone as well as anticipated, it’s important to understand planning is critical to your success.

So here are my ten top tips to consider before integrating cloud technology into your small business:

Make the DECISION to embrace this brave new world so you can have peace of mind.

1. IT Specialist.

Speak to your IT Specialist regarding the security of each platform you are considering to determine the relevance and best option for your business.

2. Platforms.

Determine which platforms your business will embrace, why and when.  These platforms can include customer relationship management (CRM), finance, file storage, email, meetings and procedures.

3. Purpose.

Ensure each platform will serve the desired purpose for your business, your staff and your clients; and also how will each platform integrate and talk to each other.

Remember one size usually does not fit all.

4. Change.

Systems = Change so it’s important to remember that moving to a new system/technology is a change for you, your small business, your team and your clients.

Help and support them to ensure a smooth transition period.

Set aside time to DECLUTTER your existing systems before you move to something new.

5. Filing Systems.

This is the best opportunity to review your current electronic filing systems with staff to ensure it is still practical, being followed, and everyone is consistently filing things in the same place, using the agreed format.  

If not, develop a new one which everyone agrees will work and is easy to follow.

6. 4Ds.

Use the 4D Principle to declutter files:

  • Do it,
  • Diarise it,
  • Delegate and
  • Delete it.

If there are files/folders which need more time to review its contents, create a ‘Things to Park’ folder and allocate 15 minutes each day to slowly sort through this.

7. Don’t Move the Mess.

It’s important when you transition to any new systems that you don’t move files and information from one mess to another.

It may seem this is the quickest and easiest option and will save you time; but in the long run, it will create more frustration and mistakes and will reduce quality service to your clients.

Now you have DECIDED what to do and DECLUTTERED your systems; it’s time to DO IT and embrace your new systems and technology.

8. Plan.

Develop a transition and an implementation plan outlining what needs to occur, by when and by whom.

9. Timeframes.

Ensure transition and implementation timeframes are being met by all those responsible and/or adjusted as needed to ensure you and your business don’t remain in a constant state of limbo or ‘are we there yet?’.

10. Training/Support.

Depending on your skill level and that of your team, you may need to invest time and funds in training them in the new technology to ensure your business fully benefits from its capacity.

Remember, for many including you, this could be a huge change to embrace something exciting (and maybe a bit scary), so please take the time needed to gain the best productivity and profitability outcome for you, your business, your team and your clients.

Overall, I believe moving to the cloud is about answering the question: “For what purpose?” and working through the three steps of:

1. Decide

2. Declutter

3. Do It

And once you have done that, you will be ready to embrace Cloud Technology and have a much better chance of successful implementation.

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