There's a lot of talk about cloud computing nowadays, and how valuable it can be for personal and professional activities alike. But do we all really understand how cloud computing works and, even if we do, are we getting the most out of it for our business? It turns out the cloud computing is not as complicated to comprehend as some might think, and its usefulness in the arenas of sales and merchandising is potentially enormous.
Simply put, a cloud-based system stores its data on a remote server or servers, to which all the other devices in the system are connected. Computers, smart phones, tablets, and any other devices with Internet access can hypothetically connect to any number of cloud servers, depending on where it is they want to save their information. In business, using the cloud means giving everyone in the company the ability to share their news, ideas, and info with one another instantly and from anywhere, which can be beneficial in a number of ways…
Having your company's information saved on a cloud means clearing up storage space, both physical and digital. Hard copy, local-level record keeping is no longer necessary when managers can pull up whatever data they need from a single source. And individual computers or mobile devices need not worry about running out of hard drive space if they are saving everything externally and able to access it remotely. The cloud can be used to free up room and, most importantly, keep everything in one place, so it is all easier to find when needed and out of the way when not.
In the past, sharing documents or files meant emails, xeroxes, zip drives, faxes, or other methods of transporting data from one location to another. With the cloud, all of your employees can send and receive information or messages wirelessly, digitally, and immediately. This allows for much faster and more productive info-sharing, since there's no need for the data to be passed around, and therefore nobody has to wait for it. It also means that the team can help influence, advise, and improve one another's performances, coming together through the shared space to become a more unified whole. Given a little time, the cloud creates a strong professional community, where everyone's contributions are accessible and valuable to everyone else.
Nothing is more important than ensuring that everyone always has the most relevant, up-to-date information available. With the cloud, this happens almost automatically, since any updates, changes, or additions made to the collective knowledge are shared with everyone in real time. There's no worry over not getting something to someone on time, or somebody using any outdated info upon which to base their decisions. Everyone pulls from the same pool of current data, helping the entire operation run more smoothly and consistently.
The cloud may seem like a fleeting buzzword or loosely-defined concept, but in reality it is a very straightforward and practical tool. It saves time, space, and effort, leading to better-informed and more productive work across the board.
Matthew Derman is a Pennsylvania-born, Boston-educated writer and customer service specialist. He currently works at Repsly as a customer success manager, focusing on supporting customers, and is a regular contributor to several blogs. He is a comicbook enthusiast, amateur comedian, and dedicated dog owner.