Cloud computing applications, or apps, are the cloud-based services also known as Software as a Service (SaaS). Programs that once had to be installed on computers individually are now offered online, and the only thing a person needs to access the program is an account and password. These apps can do everything from keeping track of notes to accounting. For both software providers and users there are a number of benefits to using cloud based apps:
A. Collaboration: Cloud apps give employees access to their information from anywhere around the globe. All you need is an Internet connection. This allows more collaborative working as multiple people can view and edit the same information at once, ensuring your team works efficiently.
B. Automatic Updates: Software as a service (SaaS) allows companies to ensure all users of their application are on the same version of the software. This is because they can provide automatic updates to cloud applications, rather than waiting for users to do it themselves. This also helps with support, as the company will know what version of the software is being used when issues are logged.
C. Everyone Benefits: Cloud apps allow companies to push new developments to all users at once, ensuring everyone benefits at the same time.
For more great benefits you can check out Why Move to the Cloud? 10 Benefits of Cloud Computing
Now to the best part, 10 great Cloud apps that can definitely be of benefit to your company:
Mozy is an online backup service that continuously backs up the files on your computer or server. It gives small businesses the space to back up all their computer and server files for a very reasonable price, so owners of SMEs know their files are retrievable, even during a data loss crisis.
Skype turns your computer into a phone: you can call or chat (with or without video) to other Skype users for free. You can also call landlines and mobile phones for a small fee. SMEs can use Skype to keep in touch with everyone they work with and for. Colleagues and clients can meet without leaving their respective cities, saving businesses precious time and money.
Box.com is like a file folder that all your gadgets and devices can access. You simply drag a file into Box, and you can instantly access it from anywhere. If you’ve ever cursed yourself for leaving that important file on your office computer or ever needed to send a client a file immediately, Box can keep that from happening again.
Toggl is a time-tracking app. It allows you to create tasks and projects and assign a certain amount of time to each project. It also logs how long tasks take to complete and how much time you have left to spend in a project, making billing incredibly easy and accurate.
Moo offers a design and printing service for business cards, postcards and minicards. Users can customise existing Moo designs, upload their own designs, or import their own images from their Etsy, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or SmugMug account.
MailChimp is an email publishing platform which allows businesses of all sizes to design and send their email campaigns. Measuring the success of your email campaigns is really easy as the software integrates with Google Analytics for tracking purposes.
Quickbooks has an online accounting service. It can help with all your accounting needs, including monitoring cash flow, creating VAT returns, setting budgets and creating business reports. It is as useful to SMEs as the desktop program that came first, but it is accessible from anywhere in the world.
Evernote makes organising notes simple. It takes all the sticky notes, scribbled-on notepads and random pictures that you would have cluttering up your desk and organises them online. It can even recognise writing in images, so if you take a picture of a white board full of notes, you can find that image by searching for one of the phrases in it.
9. Google Apps for Business - google.com
Google Apps pretty much eliminate the need for many computer programs. You can create and save text documents, spreadsheets, slide shows and more on Google Docs, and several people can work on one file simultaneously. Google Calendar makes creating and sharing calendars easy, and event reminders can be emailed to invitees. Gmail for Business gives companies personalised email accounts that are easy to set up and amend and that have the flexibility and storage space of Gmail.
Outright is a cloud finance app that helps small businesses with their business accounting. It allows you to track income/expenses, tax obligations, and profits/losses in real time. Ideal for small companies or just entrepreneurs looking to get a hold on their finances, Outright is the perfect finance app to provide access to your data whilst on the move.
Bonus – Chatter.com! - chatter.com
Chatter is essentially an in-house social network. It allows your employees to share files, collaborate easily on projects and pose questions to the whole company, which cuts down on meeting times, decreases the number of emails sent and increases how quickly employees can gather information.
There are other notable social cloud applications that you’re doubtlessly familiar with which SMEs are also embracing:
Facebook is The Social Network and the biggest website on the planet. It is also The Social Media Marketing Hotspot. SMEs can use their company Facebook pages to reach out to current and potential customers, increasing brand loyalty and customer engagement, or they can place highly targeted ads, for much less than traditional marketing and advertising campaigns.
Twitter is the social network where users send updates of 140 characters. It has made its name by being the website for first-hand accounts of breaking news. Small businesses use Twitter to talk directly to their target audience, carry out market research, engage in speedy customer service and much more.