There is a constant buzz about what the internet has to offer, but have you ever thought about the potential benefits to moving your business operations online? SMEs everywhere are turning to the web to solve their business needs. Here are five reasons you should, too.
Reason 1: Only pay for what you need, when you need it.
The traditional model of packaged software requires you to pay upfront and usually includes many features that you will never use. That can involve a huge capital outlay, which depreciates over time, with the associated cost of buying and maintaining servers and hardware adding significantly to the overall investment.
The big problem with an outset investment in servers and software is that you are forced to plan for the future and to assume that what you buy now will be adequate to deal with your business growth over its planned lifespan. What if your plans change?
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is exactly that – a service, which you can change any time. If your demand for a service increases in a month then you can just adjust your spend. Services also allow you to scale back if there is ever a change in the business.
By creating an environment where the majority of your spend on IT is shifted to services, you can far better align your business expenses with cash-flow. This gives rise to an immediate tax deductable expense instead of having to factor in depreciation on big upfront costs.
Reason 2: Reduce complexity.
Most SMEs in Australia do not have a dedicated IT support person on site, so having complex internal servers and systems that require the attention of an IT person can be a big and often unexpected cost.
By reducing system complexity you reduce the need for maintenance and the possibility of system failures, resulting in a more robust and productive workplace. Some ways to reduce system complexity are:
- Remove as many physical servers as possible from your business-IT equation.
- Reduce the complexity and number of software applications running on staff PCs.
- Reduce the need to maintain installed software on staff PCs and servers.
Reason 3: Get your staff mobile.
There is an interesting spin-off when your staff can use a web browser to take care of business – they can work from almost anywhere.
Whether your staff are on the road, at home or on the other side of the planet, SaaS allows them to remotely access applications for email, sales leads, job quoting or time tracking, making them more productive and your business more agile.
Reason 4: Get green credentials without the headache.
A big problem with operating your own servers in-house is that you have to keep them running 24 hours a day, seven days a week within a clean, temperature-controlled environment to ensure their lifespan is not cut short. Just a single server using a sustained 150 watts of power (most modern servers’ peak is between 500 and 1,000 watts) generates about 1558 kilograms of greenhouse emissions per year, not to mention the power used to air condition the server room. That is a big carbon footprint for even the most energy efficient servers, so even if you can just remove one server you are making a big difference.
Reason 5: Make your business perform.
One of the big advantages of the SaaS model is that small businesses can access best of breed software at small business pricing. Before SaaS came along, only the big end of town could afford these business tools.
By implementing a cohesive set of SaaS solutions that suit your business, you can be more effective in sales, provide a better customer experience and manage your operations more effectively. Best of all, none of it involves an upfront cost and nearly all services provide free trials of the systems, so you can find the right one for your business.
It makes sense to review why you are paying for servers and software when there may be a better and more cost-effective way to do business.
Joe Cincotta is a leading technology expert and managing director of SaaS Mentor, Australia’s first independent business consultancy dedicated to providing SMEs with guidance through the process of learning about and adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).