Cloud computing is an innovation that, in a relatively short period, has dramatically improved how companies manage their technologies.
In 1997, the late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. said, “I don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster. Carrying around non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison.”
He might as well have been talking about “the cloud,” which is now being hailed by some as the next best invention since the light bulb.
“It’s a no-brainer,” says Brad Jefferson, CEO and Co-Founder of Animoto, a video creation service. “Every start-up, or even a division within a company that has a new idea, should be figuring out how to use the cloud in its plan.”
“The cloud” is a metaphor for an Internet-based application where data is sent, processed, and stored for access by a computer or mobile device. Computing companies harness large groups of servers, spread data-processing tasks among them, then charge companies a fee to access more technology for less money and free up more time for employees to concentrate on business.
Clearly, this technology has accelerated the business world’s migration to enterprise resource performance (ERP) systems. From sales to inventory, customer service to accounting (through ERP cloud accounting software), ERP systems integrate a company’s various functions into a single arrangement that streamlines processes and information across the entire organization.
Cloud computing is much like the electrical power grid, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices. Industry experts knew that once Internet technology got up to speed in terms of bandwidth connections and reliability, the world’s computing infrastructure would begin to resemble its infrastructure for electricity.
The first time IT companies took this concept to the marketplace, Internet connections couldn’t handle it. They were either too slow and unreliable or too expensive. Eventually, along came flat-fee, lightning-fast, and dependable Internet connections. Soon to follow were iPhones, Android phones, Smartphones, and the expansion of such innovations as ERP systems – all in concert with the “mobile internet” of Steve Jobs and other visionaries.
The key to ERP systems is a database with multiple functions shared by varied divisions of a company, each with access to the same information for its own specific needs. In the accounting department, for example, ERP cloud accounting software provides such functions as real-time reporting, business intelligence, and a worldwide view of data. It also ensures compliance with regulatory policies, automates billing and collections, helps reduce financial risk, enhances customer service, and eliminates redundant processes and systems,
The bottom line is that technology like ERP cloud accounting software allows a company to direct more of its IT budget to innovation and to improving and cultivating its business, instead of spending an inordinate amount of time and money to maintain and manage on-site systems. Swift access to accurate information enables employees to make sound decisions faster, plan more effectively, drive improvements, and respond more quickly to questions and concerns that could affect the retention of a current client or the acquisition of a new one.