How Start Ups Can Benefit From Cloud Computing?

From nebulous beginnings, the cloud has grown to a platform that has gained universal acceptance and is transforming businesses across industries. Companies that have adopted cloud technology have seen significant payoffs, with cloud-based tools redefining their data storage, data sharing, marketing and project management capabilities. The easy availability of affordable cloud infrastructure has made it so easy to set up new businesses that the economy is all set for a startup boom which has its head, so to speak, in the cloud!

With the advent of this new technology, complete newbie’s in the market are able to hold their own against established market players—by achieving an amazing quantum of work using skeleton manpower resources. Recently, a popular ad doing the rounds on TV showed a long-haired youth conducting business from a cafe on his HP Pavilion laptop, where he is ridiculed by some well-heeled middle-aged businessmen on their coffee break. Back at their office, they find that this youngster is the new investor that their boss has been heaping accolades on. “Where’s your office?” one of them asks the young man…to be laughingly told that he carries his entire office in his laptop!

And that, typically, is how the new-age start-up business looks. We have heard many stories of how a clever idea has turned a tidy profit for a smart entrepreneur working out of his laptop. While cloud computing is pushing the boundaries of science and innovation into a new realm, it is also laying the foundation for a new wave of business start-ups.

New ventures, in general, suffer from a lack of infrastructure, manpower, and funding…and all these three concerns are categorically addressed by the cloud. Moving to the cloud minimizes the need for huge capital investments to set up expensive infrastructure. For nascent entrepreneurs, physical hardware and server costs used to be formidable given the limited budgets at their disposal. Seed money was also required to hire office space, promote the business and hire workers. Today, thanks to cloud technology, getting a new business off the ground and running costs virtually nothing. Most of the resources and tools that new ventures need are available on the cloud at minimal costs, in fact quite often at zero costs, making this a powerful value proposition for small businesses. A cloud hosting provider such as AWS can enable you to go live immediately, and will even scale up to your requirement once your business expands.

Small businesses can think and dream big with the cloud. When it comes to manpower resources, it takes just a handful of people to work wonders using the online resources that are at their disposal. If you have a brilliant idea and have a workable plan for execution, you can comfortably compete for neck to neck with market leaders. The messaging sensation WhatsApp was started in 2009 by just two former Yahoo employees who leveraged the power of the internet – and this goes to show that clever use of technology can completely eliminate the need for a sizeable manpower pool.

Startups have always been more agile than their large-scale counterparts, and the cloud helps them take this a step further. Resources can be scaled up or down in no time, whereas in traditional environments it would have taken many days, considerable planning and funds to add hardware and software. Cloud computing also helps improve collaboration across teams, often across geographies. Data sharing is instantaneous, and teams can work on a task together in real time regardless of their location.

Powered by the cloud, small businesses operate with shoestring budgets and key players in different continents. All their accounting, client data, marketing and other business-critical files can be stored online and are accessible from anywhere. These online tools can be accessed and utilized instantly, and underpin all the crucial processes on which these businesses thrive. Strategic financial decisions are made after garnering insights from cloud-based accounting software. E-invoicing helps settle bills in a fraction of the time of traditional billing systems, and client queries are answered quickly through cloud-based management systems—saving precious time and increasing customer satisfaction levels to an all-time high. Whether at home, on vacation or on the phone, businesses can oversee sales, replenish products and plan new sales strategies. That’s a whole new way of doing business, and seems to be very successful!

An estimate by Cloudworks has put the anticipated cloud computing market at over $200 billion by the year 2018. As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, succinctly put it, the cloud “makes it easier and cheaper than ever for anyone anywhere to be an entrepreneur and to have access to all the best infrastructure of innovation.” With cloud technology rapidly leveling the playing field between nascent and established businesses, it is anybody’s guess as to just how many new startups will burst into the scene in the next few years.

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