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25 August 2015 Posted by 

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT LESSONS

Migrating a business to the cloud

THE pace of change in the small business technology space in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Sparked by the possibilities of cloud-based technologies and fuelled by small business owners’ desire to create efficiency and competitive advantage the breadth and depth of areas that can be accessed and the maturity of those offerings, is continuing to gather pace.  

The benefits available to business owners across their business is to create superior experiences from their customers, improve the efficiency of their client facing staff, make their supply chain more efficient or to simply save time, lower costs, and run their business on data instead of gut instinct, makes the move to the cloud a compelling one.  For most, it should be a question of which services first and how, not if a move to the cloud makes sense.

Most business owners can relate to the desire to spend less time on day-to-day transactions, paying staff and suppliers, and scrambling to balance the books at the end of each month. Business owners need access to live and up-to-the-moment financial information to enable them to have a real-time view of their financial performance. This can change the way they think about their business and, in particular, the decisions they make and the timeliness with which they act to optimise the performance of their business.

Key learnings for migrating a business to the cloud are:

1)    Businesses constantly change and grow so it is important to put thought into your architecture – that is, the combination of software tools you might need to effectively run the business. Consider carefully your current business processes – and which of these could be replaced or streamlined. Ensure you choose the right tool for your business – the right ones should allow you to work smarter, more efficiently and more collaboratively with your team, your advisors and your customers. The beauty of an ‘open’ architecture means that you can choose to change or upgrade your toolkit as your business needs change.

2)    Having a snapshot of your business performance provides analytics and insights which help business owners make sound decisions – as they need to be made. Ensure the cloud service you choose has an intuitive dashboard and connects to your chosen software tools or apps which allow you to review key metrics in real time. There are hundreds of business apps, both financial and non-financial, which are compatible and relatively easy to use. Research of the right app is also simple as they can come ‘pre-packaged’ into categories such as staff, customers, suppliers, marketing, products and finances etc. And at the core of the system, everyday transaction management such as the processing of supplier invoices and payments and management of your business’s general ledger is what you need from the cloud.

3)    Researching a reputable software provider is valuable. Look at what your business needs and really think about which of the online tools and app options are right for your business. You may be looking at different payroll systems for example. Understand the pros and cons of each and apply these to your business model – what are your ‘must haves’ versus your ‘nice to haves’? Also think about the future add-ons you may need in addition to your accounting ledger such as a CRM, a specialist inventory management system, or a point of sale system, and make sure the choices you make as you begin building your toolbox will allow you to integrate additional apps and scale into the future. And of course, data storage and security is critical. Where is your data stored, how secure is it, who owns it and is it accessible?

4)    Most cloud tools have an online subscription payments model and fixed monthly fees. But what about the support services you require around these tools – bookkeeping, accounting and business advice? The right service and software / advisor package will make it easier for businesses to manage their cash flow and ensure business owners have a real-time view of their financial position and performance anywhere, anytime and on any device.

5)    Don’t expect that simply moving your current financial data set up into a cloud environment is going to provide overnight benefits. Take the transition as an opportunity to really review your business processes and financial settings, and engage the right team to take you into your new environment. The right advisors will have made these transitions a core part of their advisory services, and they will have seen the mistakes made by others and will ensure you don’t make them again. 



editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
Mobile: 0407 783 413
Email: info@wsba.com.au
Mail: PO Box 186, Kurrajong NSW 2758
Office phone: 61 2 4572 2336

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