This is not easy, of course, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) where employees often have so much on their list to sort through. Typically, these employees wear several hats, meaning many line items on their to-do lists are more about maintenance than productivity. They also spend significant time putting out “fires” (and in the SMB space, there are many) and dealing with “drive-by” disruptions (other people who interrupt the flow by asking questions and adding tasks to your list).
The only way to navigate this messy minefield and maintain clarity is to useto automate and streamline as many items as possible. You must condense this disparate and complex workload to a more manageable daily checklist if productivity is ever going to be achievable.
While just about anything on your list can be easily outsourced using the cloud — IT, financial management, human resources, marketing, sales and operations, etc. — some areas are more common to outsource than others. These days, IT seems to be the most popular and the most crucial for SMBs to hire out of house. The reason this is so common is because technology plays a significant role across the board.
The key is to find the balance between cost, flexibility, control and scalability. In other words, you want the time and money savings, but you also want to make sure you settle into a solution that can scale with the growth of your business.
For busy SMB owners, it’s important to remember that moving line-of-business systems into a well-managed hosted environment will improve several areas right out of the gate. Cloud solutions, especially cloud ERP, will help keep your overall IT spend at a minimum and moves the process to a subscription payment model, which is predictable. In fact, this ability to be a predictable expenditure is one of the biggest distinguishing features for a cloud subscription model; it spreads the potential line items in a software investment (software, support, licensing, etc.) across the course of the contract. What was once an uneven expenditure is now consistent each month.
Using the cloud to outsource also means that your disaster and recovery will be more secure and manageable. For example, if a server crashes today, how do you respond? How much time does it take to recover? Hosting takes this off the list of things an SMB owner should worry about, and solves this issue (among several others) with a predictable monthly investment. Remember, with the cloud, you don’t have to worry about constantly changing costs and managing upgrades.
If they are to succeed — and actually have time to spend with their families — SMB owners must eliminate administrative tasks and focus on the core competency of the business. The key to this is using cloud ERP technology to automate and streamline your tasks.