Why small business owners should move their business communications to the cloud

As more and more start-ups embrace a flexible approach to working, the cloud can ensure that your team never misses a call, email or potential lead again...

In recent years, the advancement of digital technology has driven business practice through some pretty seismic shifts. And thanks to developments in smartphones, cloud tech and other portable devices and apps, it’s now possible to run an entire business empire from the palm of your hand.

With the rising prices of office space, many of the UK’s small business owners are embracing the opportunities offered by this technology – choosing the more affordable, flexible and low-risk option of running the business remotely from home, a co-work space or a local wi-fi hotspot.

This is simple enough if you’re a lone wolf, but as your business grows and you hire more remote staff, you’ll need to obtain a secure and reliable system through which to communicate and share information with them across multiple locations.

You’ll also need to think about your clients: if your team is spread across the country, how can you ensure that all customer phone calls are answered, and by the right person for each query? As a small business, you can’t afford to miss – or mess up – calls; it could potentially cost you business.

Even if your staff aren’t remote, a cloud-based communications system for smoothly directing calls to particular team members, and enabling access to send emails and collaborate on email calendars, will have huge benefits – and save you money.

What is a cloud-based communications solution?

Cloud-based communications solutions for calls enable users to route all calls through one centralised number.

Calls can then be re-directed to any of your business’ assigned internet-enabled devices and the team members who operate them – so when that all important call comes in, wherever you are, you or your team can always take it.

Meanwhile, cloud email enables you to access emails and view and edit calendars, address books and tasks from any device and location, without an expensive email server that needs continuous maintenance.

Using comprehensive cloud providers such as Oracle NetSuite, it’s also possible to take your entire CRM (customer relationship management) operations onto the cloud, along with back office business processes such as human resources, financial operations, inventory, order fulfilment and more.

Essentially, the cloud can become your digital office, accessible through any number of devices and desktops. You could theoretically have a 200-strong team who never leave their own houses.

What can moving to the cloud do for your business?

First of all, using the cloud instead of more traditional communications systems can save your business cash that’s better invested elsewhere; especially if you’re no longer having to pay for more expensive phone lines and email server maintenance.

And, today, businesses of every size are looking to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as the future, as employees increasingly find comfort in accessing company information, making business calls and sending faxes and emails from their own personal devices – and having everything readily available on the cloud enables this.

As people tend to keep their phones, tablets and laptops updated with the latest software, you can be assured that employees are using the most efficient tech for them and are always comfortable using the device to communicate.

This means you don’t have to keep spending money and time on costly IT equipment and updates, and as your emails won’t rely on a single server or piece of hardware, you won’t be at risk of crashes and failures that result in lost data, deals and money.

As an administrator, you’d be able to manage the productivity of your workforce and its locations from your own personal device. Furthermore, without the limits of how much equipment the business has available, your workforce has more capacity to grow.

Not to mention the fact that, with company communications accessible on the go, employees can enjoy a better work-life balance. A parent, for example, will be able to pick their child up from school after all because they can simply take that urgent call on the road (using hands-free tech of course!)

So, how much will all this cost?

With a range of affordable, pay monthly packages on offer from cloud providers, you can decide which suits the size and needs of your business and, importantly, you can scale up your package as you grow.

Thousands of small and medium sized enterprises are already reaping the rewards of switching their communications to the cloud; saving time, money and sanity in the process – and enabling flexibility and work-life balance for their employees.

Whether you are a parent forced to take business calls on the school run, a first-time entrepreneur trying to deal with every facet of your business, or a business owner managing a growing remote team, a cloud-based phone system can provide you with the flexibility your business needs to grow.

Oracle NetSuite’s cloud business software suite is trusted by more than 40,000 organisations. Find out more about NetSuite here

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