Every successful entrepreneur has at least one best practice in common: They’re resourceful. They learn quickly that it is absolutely critical to maximize scare resources and to appropriately allocate capital and employees to focus on business projects that will generate the highest return.
The challenge is to be resourceful without stifling growth. The most successful entrepreneurs are able to stay within the boundaries of limited resources and still create that foundation that allows the business to effectively scale. Fortunately, you are running your business in an age of incredible technological advances that can help you to accomplish these competing goals. Cloud applications, mobile accessibility, and a wealth of valuable data bring together the best of both worlds for your business.
To begin with, cloud applications provide several very tangible benefits to an entrepreneur. First, there’s the cost advantage. You pay for what you need, meaning you can “pay as you grow,” and downsize if needed. You also pay over time, which helps to manage cash flow. There’s no need to hire a large IT team to implement and manage the applications, and no need for large capital outlays for servers and data centers.
Then there’s the “time to solution” advantage. Cloud solutions can typically be configured and in production in a fraction of the time of traditional on-premise applications (typically weeks, not months or years), truly creating rapid business solutions that empowers your team rather than creating a costly IT problem that drags everyone down and inhibits progress.
But perhaps the most important value cloud applications will bring your business is their ability to help you implement best practice processes across the various functional areas of your business. There are best practice processes within each department that are critical to business growth. Cloud applications combine the knowledge of experienced professionals within an intuitive application interface, with optimized data structures and world-class workflow capabilities, to help you implement best practices across each department and configure the applications according to your unique business needs. It’s like getting the benefits of an expensive management consultant, except that otherwise expensive expertise comes pre-built into your solution. That combined knowledge and flexibility allows you to create the most efficient internal processes using minimal resources and without the drain of a large IT project.
Next, combine cloud applications with mobile devices and you have key business information available anywhere, anytime. This gives you enough flexibility to create a cohesive, highly functioning team without the need to have them all under one roof. You are free to hire the best resources at the best cost, wherever they may be located, knowing they will have constant access to the right information.
Finally, you have the power to gain insight from data like no other class of entrepreneurs before you. The open API nature of cloud applications, the advances made in cloud integration, and intuitive, cloud visual analytics solutions make it possible to pull data from your various functional applications into a central analytics repository. You can instrument your business with self-service reports, dashboards, scorecards, alerts, and threaded discussions embedded within the data that put you in complete control of your business. You can see the past, present, and future of your business all within a single, consolidated view of the company.
There are many cloud applications to help you manage and grow your business, and they are now more accessible than ever as mobile gains traction. These include applications for sales and marketing, project management, accounting, financial and operational planning, file sharing and communication across functions and, finally, dashboards and beautiful data visualization to bring all your corporate data together in a single, holistic view.
Armed with cloud applications, mobile capabilities, and intuitive data analytics, today’s entrepreneurs are empowered to leverage their resources through geographically dispersed employees, best-in-class processes, and game changing data insights to help start and grow a business more rapidly, dynamically, and cost-effectively than ever before.
This article originally appeared on Business2Community.com