Moving Small and Micro Business into the Cloud, part 1

This post is just an initial heads up to a rapidly developing range of options for business to use software services online (in the cloud). I will review this area in more detail.

For very small business, it is hard to justify the set up, software and hardware costs for useful business software such as Exchange and SharePoint. This puts small business at a disadvantage especially in missing out on some of the collaborate tools in technologies like SharePoint.  With making these technologies available in the cloud – a small business can pay per user per month avoid set up cost hurdles and gaining advantage of modern software tools.

That’s the theory, and it should work in practice, if the price and service are right – Telstra are one provider in Australia – I will research if there are others. An initial reading seems to indicate prices start from one user – which shows someone might be understanding the benefits of this approach for micro business, contractors etc, as well as “small business”  which seems to be 40 -400 staff (when discussed by banks and politicians anyway). In earlier approaches to cloud services, I found per user pricing, but you had to need blocks of users eg 10 or 20 to start which ruled out a lot of small business.

The links below are to provide some initial reading on this topic

The Cloud and Time Management

The MYOB on line accounting is of great interest to me.

One thing all time management guides recommend is to delegate time consuming administrative tasks. I always think of of entering my bank account transactions into my accounting software when this comes up. Accounting software always seems to be weak in the ease of use department, so it was always a chore.

As a one man band I can’t delegate – I could outsource this to a book keeping service, but this would add double handling – cost and inefficiency. As part of my new business plan I have identified better cash flow and account management as a priority. So I have been waiting for a service that would draw the data direct from my bank account. If this works as advertised, I can solve a time management issue and run my business better by delegating the data transfer to the cloud based application. I will be reviewing this and posting in detail.

Your feedback always welcomed.

Update

One more link – Office 2010 web apps review

Steven