Many entrepreneurs run several businesses or one business from multiple locations. This can pose logistical problems. One of the biggest problems is information. The entrepreneur or owner will want to know what is happening at the various enterprises at the various sites. Significant business data and information is held on the computers; the problem, at least in the past, has been how to bring all this information together so it can be accessed in one place or on one computer or device. There is a solution, and it comes in the form of ‘the cloud.’
The cloud, otherwise known as cloud computing, provides a virtual world where all the companies’ data and other essential information is stored and accessed via the internet. The cloud has become a key component for entrepreneurs such as Gavin Woodhouse, MBi Consulting. Mr Woodhouse is the founder and principle shareholder of MBI, one of the fastest growing care home providers in the UK. He is also chairman and shareholder of Stada media group as well as Giant Hospitality and Ideal Student Accommodation. With a leading role in such a wide business portfolio the cloud gives him the opportunity to co-ordinate the activities within each of those companies.
Harnessing the cloud to run multi businesses is not difficult; there are companies that provide the necessary expertise and which offer the business cloud services and solutions required. However, before becoming involved, business owners will no doubt want to know the benefits offered by cloud computing.
One of the benefits of cloud-based services when running multi businesses is the flexibility – business owners can scale the services up or down in line with their requirements.
The loss of data can pose major problems for single enterprises and those problems can reach crisis level where multi businesses are concerned. However, with cloud services, backup and recovery is generally available.
Another benefit of the cloud is that it can help save money. Enterprises may spend cash on new software but eventually it will need updating. With cloud-based services, the software is automatically updated by the supplier, leaving the business owner and staff free to concentrate on their work. This is especially advantageous to principals of multi businesses as it saves the time and expense of having to install new software on every computer and then having to periodically update it.
What must be considered a key benefit when harnessing the cloud to run multi businesses is its ability to enable collaboration. The cloud includes apps for workflow and file sharing, which allows real-time updates across the various enterprises.
The cloud also allows business owners and staff to work from anywhere, such as from home. Obviously, this allows work to be undertaken and information to be accessed outside of normal office hours. If the cloud service also includes mobile apps this means work can be done while on the move – a big advantage on long journeys.
Other benefits the cloud offers to multi businesses include strict document control. With documents being worked on across various businesses, security needs to be tight to prevent them being seen by those not authorised to do so. Cloud computing also offers the advantage of enhanced security. Should a laptop be lost, for example, the cloud serves as a repository for the data, rather than the device.
All the benefits offered by cloud-based systems give multi business owners competitive advantage over rivals, particularly in terms of money saved and the time saved in sharing information and data across the whole group.