Questions

What cloud solutions do you recommend?

Are there more to this list? Skype, Xero, SharePoint, BaseCamp, Asana, Office365, GoogleDrive,... read more

Asked by:
Yee Trinh
Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Steven Freeman
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
SAASU as alternative to Xero.Mailchimp for email marketing.Zoho for entry level CRM capabilities.Just to name a few...
Brad Lyons
Brad LyonsOwner at SMS Fusion
A lot of cloud services available to the market today can be installed on your own servers so you have full control over the data plus have the advantage of using cloud. A lot of people will say you have to give up something for convenience. Most common thing people give up is privacy, however in the business world the only thing you need to give up is money, and that is only if you don't want to use the free software. If you want the benefits that come with cloud services then you can simply host them yourself. Dropbox: can be replaced with OwncloudSkype: can be replaced with an opensource voip platformFacebook: I have my own version of Facebook running on my servers for testing and developmentSalesforce: Very easily replaced as there are heaps of alternatives. I have an alternative to Salesforce running on my servers, clients can login, see updates on their accounts and interact with me. All on my servers.Desk.com: Yep there are even alternatives to this lovely piece of software.The truth is opensource is very popular with the general public but not as popular as it should be with the business sector. The beauty with opensource is the community of developers working around the clock to improve the software. In a lot of cases you will find opensource software more stable and reliable than commercial software. Microsoft Windows/Linux is a good example. Another more well know opensource project is called Android. Chances are if your not using a iPhone you are using an Android phone, in fact Android has market share over the smart device market. More people are using Android then iPhone, more people use Android devices than any other smart device competitor. So when it comes to cloud solutions it pays to have a look around at what is available. In most cases if not all cases, an opensource version will be available. Enjoy the benefits of cloud and enjoy retaining ownership of your own data.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

What are the main differences between cloud and desktop accounting software?

I'm considering the two options mentioned above, but I'm not that sure about what the differences... read more

Steven Freeman
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
A key main difference for small business is it efficiently gives you, your staff, contractors, book keeper and accountant all real time access to the same primary account system. Automated bank feeds can reduce cost / time in doing reconciliations.Other benefit is it can provide seamless integration into other cloud systems you may be running, such us shopping carts, CRMS and billing systems etc.
Tim Hoopmann
Tim HoopmannOwner at Cornerstone Group
Hi Federica,Personally having used both within my business and judging by your requirements, a cloud-based solution would be the best option suitable to your needs. Basically, desktop is the original method of managing your books. With the advent of technology there are other options for you to choose from. In the long-run desktop will be less effective, more costly in terms of system updates and doesn’t offer flexibility for your firm. The cloud however, is a platform that allows for you to access your data online – anytime, anywhere and from any device! Major benefits of the cloud: 1. Being in the cloud allows for you to work remotely, you don’t always have to be in the office giving you more freedom 2. It is secure and backed up daily 3. It is extremely easy to navigate 4. All of your financial data is available in real-time and from one source of truth 5. You have access to real-time, accurate financial data which gives you a better understanding of your cash flow 6. If you are to grow your business, your accounting platform can easily adapt to the expansion Disadvantages of Desktop Accounting: 1. It is not as flexible in comparison to the online platforms 2. If your computer was to crash you could possibly lose all of your data, unless you back up daily 3. You can’t connect cloud based apps or add-ons to desktop software. Apps often provide greater functionality for your business 4. Due to manual processing, you may have higher bookkeeping fees. A cloud platform will allow for you to streamline the majority of your processThere are many different cloud accounting platforms you can choose from, the major ones being Xero, Intuit QBO & MYOB. One great point to mention however is that as you have 22 casual staff, automated payroll solutions will be great for you as you can move away from manual time sheets and your employees can access all their details, payslips, entry to request annual leave and entry of their daily hours all in one location! Have a look at the services of HR2PAY www.hr2pay.com.au which would be great for your payroll and HR needs.Please contact me for any further information and hope this has helped.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Cloud computing

My Work Phone transforms personal smartphones into cloud-based work phones

Smartphone are improving and becoming more useful every day, and as so many people use phones for...read more

0
Added via Shoe String
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Questions

Is your business using a cloud computing solution? If yes, what do you like about it?

Is your business using a cloud computing solution? If yes, what do you like about it? read more

Shaun L
Shaun L at mdfjumpers.com.au
Hi GavinYes, our business runs on cloud computing in a way.we dont have a server and we use VoIP trunks and lines for our communications inbound.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Cloud computing

Forget the cloud, the future is in the 'fog'

Business Spectator Technology Christopher Mims I'm as...read more

0
Added via Business Spectator
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Cloud computing

Benefits of cloud-based disaster recovery

Business SpectatorTechnologyBennett OprysaAn effective business disaster recovery plan is like...read more

0
Added via Business Spectator
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Cloud computing

The risky business of the cloud

Business SpectatorTechnologyPaul WallbankCloud computing has been one of the game changers of...read more

0
Added via Business Spectator
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Questions

What are the best options for hosting data files?

I replied to a question on site a while ago that my business holds all of our data files in the... read more

Asked by:
Rhys Roberts
Rhys Roberts Director at Viridity
Rhys Roberts
Rhys RobertsDirector at Viridity
Thanks James & Dave, just what I was looking for.  A couple of follow up comments. Budget is probably less important that the functionality (within reason of course), and there do seem to be a range of options all of which will cost significantly less than a locally installed server.  To date we have been using both Dropbox & Boxnet, both for storing internal documents and for file transfer to / from clients (with access restricted by user of course).  One of the downsides of Dropbox is the lack of granularity of access control - you either grant a user access to a folder or not.  Boxnet offers better control than this - users can be given read only / upload only / download only / edit but not delete / and a number of other variations of access.  An issue I have with both Dropbox & Boxnet is that users can set up to automatically sync to their local workstation, which is great in terms of speed of opening files and also overcomes concerns of internet access (although as we have primary and backup access I don't see this is a likely risk).  A problem this creates is in terms of conflicted files - user A opens a file from their local machine, Dropbox syncs this.  User B then opens the same file from their local machine and Dropbox creates a "conflicted copy" - you now have 2 different versions of the same file.  We manage this internally at the moment via procedures, but that is becoming steadily more challenging. As my business grows I am keen to ensure that the solutions we use are appropriate for the size of the business.  Thanks for the input above, I will continue to explore this issue & will at some stage implement some amendments to our current set up.  Cheers, Rhys        
I'm a big fan of Google. We use Google for business so get to use our own domain names for our emails and Google docs is an excellent platform for file storage of all kinds. Google for business is only US$50 per email so very affordable for small business. We tend to use Google docs for internal business documents like policies and procedures and our office network layouts. We use Dropbox for file sharing outside of the business.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

What is the best way to back up my Google docs?

Hi Savvy's, Yesterday I found that one of my Google docs had somehow lost some updates I made a... read more

Asked by:
Phil Joel
Phil Joel Director at SavvySME
Per Henriksen
Per HenriksenDirector at Interim Finance Execs
Sorry for my late entry here, but there is an excellent Cloud-2-Cloud backup product for Google Apps called Backupify (www.backupify.com). It backs up all your files on Google Drive, Emails, Contacts, Calendars and Sites.
Ben Thompson
Ben ThompsonCEO at Employment Innovations (EI)
That looks useful, you can also install Google drive onto your computer and set the sync settings to manual. This will allow you to back up your docs.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

What would stop you from moving into the cloud for all your IT requirements?

Asked by:
Andrew Tucker
Macel Legaspi
Macel LegaspiBusiness Development Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Sharing my thoughts below:a) seems expensive - I am reminded by disasters that have struck for instance Japan and how some businesses were able to get back up and running business as is because of how they had disaster recovery in place. Had it not been for this, doubtless that it would be much more costly to get back to business for these companies. The journey to the cloud will actually free SMEs from CAPEX -- instead let them compete globally much faster than before. It will only be expensive if they do not plan well and I mean, not just about planning on what technology or services to purchase, but plan to have the right process and people to support the technologies they intend to consume.b) need extra knowledge to handle the cloud? - Yes, but there's a number of cloud service providers any SME can go to and ask for help now. c) i have very small thing to do, so why increase cost by moving to cloud? The landscape we have is very different now. People demand to have access to data anytime, anywhere. Mobile is changing the way business and people interact. Data is exponentially growing. And there's security threats everywhere. To enable you to do your job better today, you've to be able to get instant access to information, right? And so that's why moving to the cloud becomes more of a mandate unless you accept that your competitors will outperform you.d) what happens if i switch the cloud service provider, and what happens to my data? how do i migrate it? is there cost involve? - I think different cloud service providers have different answers for this and this is where the SME has to do its or their research well. Our belief (I work at Hewlett Packard Enterprise) is that not everything has to move out of your firewall and go to the public cloud. Each app is unique and each SME is unique, and there's a unique balance of private and public and traditional infra to be managed. So before you go and jump into the world of cloud -- you must first ask amongst yourselves in the company what it is you want to achieve.
Andrew Egan
Andrew EganOwner at Adept IT
I think a crucial show-stopper for several of my clients is the internet speed to their present location. I've got two clients in particular who aren't able to achieve any more than 2M/sec downstream - it's hard enough for them to just browse the internet in an office of 8 people, let alone conduct all their business across it. It's also not cost effective for them to move to a more appropriate solution such as SDSL or Ethernet - in both cases I've done SQ anyway to find that they'd be paying huge amounts of money but not really able to acheive much better speed.  
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

What are the pros and cons of moving from Gmail to Google Apps?

When should I move from Gmail to Google Apps, and what are the Pros and Con's and pitfalls of doing... read more

Andrew Thorn
Andrew ThornBusiness Development Manager at Crucial Cloud Hosting
I find a lot of people are now choosing to host their email/calendar etc using Google apps. I think with more and more people using Google related services it makes sense. They great interaction across all their products. You also get the added advantage of having your email stored on their many servers which gives you confidence that your services will be always online. I think that you cant ditch excel and PowerPoint etc just yet. Even though I use Google apps extensively I still do most of my spreadsheet work in excel.  Have to say my favorite feature of Gmail and Google apps is when it prompts you after you hit send if you mentioned in your email "I have attached" and you have forgot to attach the file etc. It stops it from sending till you amend your email and add that attachment. Has saved me from many an embarrassing moment when the attachment is not attached.   
Nick Chernih
Nick ChernihFounder at LinkBuildSEO
I think you should consider moving when you need your email to integrate with your other google applications, e.g. calendar and if you want a more professional email.  Pros. Instead of @gmail, you can have @yourdomainname.  Cons. Not much of a difference so same cons as gmail.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

Is cloud computing the way of the future?

Is there a dark side to cloud computing that is yet to reveal itself, or is this truly the way of... read more

Asked by:
Nick Chernih
Nick ChernihFounder at LinkBuildSEO
It seems all rosy, except for maybe sercurity issues and data storage issues. You just need to be clear on where your data is stored and how it is to be handled by the company you are using.
Phil Joel
Phil JoelDirector at SavvySME
That is a great question Emily. I believe more and more business applications will move to the Cloud. We have seen this with the likes of Salesforce for CRM, Xero for accounting, etc. But Cloud Computing may not be perfect for every scenario. For instance, if an organisation has some unique business requirements or has some business processes that cut across multiple applications then it may not be easy in such cases. The biggest challenge when moving business applications to the Cloud will be how these applications integrate with others.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

Should I have my own server or make use of cloud computing?

Asked by:
Phil Joel
Phil Joel Director at SavvySME
Andrew Egan
Andrew EganOwner at Adept IT
The decision to host something on the cloud or run your own server is dependent on each particular business. Cost for the actual service is part of it, but there's also things like data privacy and who owns your data, the cost of an enhanced internet connection (you'll find your staff require not only more speed, but to be able to upload and download more data - you have to remember that now ALL of this is going over your internet connection) then there's things like preventing rogue employees from accessing data outside of work time. If you have an inhouse IT platform, then your team usually cannot access data outside of work hours, so if you've got someone who is leaving, or intent on doing damage, they can only do it while at work. Plus, you can log this and know what's going on. If your malicious employee is able to access all your systems from home and export all your customer service records and provide them to a competitor, how would you stop that? And what sort of logging and security is in place, what info will the vendor give you?   In-house servers aren't the solution for all businesses, but equally, the cloud isn't the solution for all businesses. It also drives better recurring revenue for IT providers than just getting a server installed.  And interestingly, on the idea that it's far cheaper to run all your services on a cloud-based platform, consider your TCO or Total Cost of Ownership. Add up the cost of all the hosted services you pay for on a monthly basis, then add a multiplier of 3 to give you a 3year TCO. Now look at the cost of an inhouse server (which is normally capitalised over a roughly 3 year life span). You'd probably need to include in your TCO the cost of your business losing access to it's critical business tools if your internet is out for a day, or 3, or 5, or whatever. Plus, even though it's "backed up" you'll still want to be backing up your data anyway - what happens if your provider falls over or goes bankrupt and you lose all your data? One final point.. the truth of the matter is, reselling cloud services is far more revenue friendly for IT Providers - we generate ongoing recurring revenue for minimal effort, as opposed to the installation of hardware, which gives us a single one-off revenue hit. That's the reason so many providers push it as the solution. They are looking after their business over the mid to longer term, rather than focussing on what your business actually needs.  
Rhys Roberts
Rhys RobertsDirector at Viridity
I run a business with 6 staff (and growing rapidly): we do not have a server & I aim to keep it that way.  We store all our data in the cloud, we run cloud apps for CRM, accounting, payroll and so on.  Works fine - it is far cheaper, and I do not have the worry of managing an IT infrastructure that is not my area of expertise.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Questions

How can I transfer my email to google ?

Asked by:
Phil Joel
Phil Joel Director at SavvySME
Phil Joel
Phil JoelDirector at SavvySME
This article is quite useful: http://www.filiwiese.com/transitioning-to-a-google-apps-account/ 
Matt AntoninoOwner at Pay On Performance
Do you want all the previous emails or do you want to just start fresh using Gmail?   (Both are possible but different answers..)
Please login or sign up to answer.