2013 was the year that small business manufacturers and wholesale distributors began to realize the benefits of technology. And, we believe that 2014 will be the year that these businesses embrace technology wholeheartedly and reap the benefits that come with it. Small businesses are increasingly turning to technology to push the industry forward, and no wonder: the flexibility and scalability of the cloud for example, makes it easier to be competitive and collaborative. This is going to be the year of the cloud and collaboration.
The cloud makes it much easier to collaborate, not only with partners but even within the company itself. Someone working on quoting is able to get actual numbers from accounting, without having to bring the accounting department’s day to a stop. Moreover, perhaps the biggest benefit of the cloud is that it is affordable for small businesses. It gives small businesses, who are constantly cutting costs and looking to “do more with less,” the ability to grow and manage their business at a price that they can afford.
Another attractive feature of the cloud is the fact that it is actually more secure than on-premises software installations. A common misconception is that data in the cloud doesn’t live anywhere – it’s just – well – in the cloud. This is simply not true. When you put data into the cloud, it does live somewhere, a center to be specific (we can tell you the exact city and location if you’d like). Moreover, cloud software centers are typically highly secure operations; no one gets into the server room unless they have the proper credentials. Additionally, cloud centers have the right firewalls, hardware, and software protecting the data from Internet intruders. Most companies just have a standard hub linking to the Internet, but cloud centers are primed for security. The only way most companies can completely protect themselves, other than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on security, is to completely unplug from the Internet – unthinkable in today’s business climate.
As the next generation, which is more mobile and more accustomed to the Internet, rises through the ranks, cloud is going to become the platform of choice. There is no doubt about it. The cloud is mature, well-secured, flexible, and scalable, which makes it the best choice for small manufacturers and wholesale distributors looking to get an edge.
Enough about the benefits of the cloud – what are we really getting at? One of our goals this year is to help small business manufacturers and wholesale distributors understand just how simple the cloud is. If you use Gmail, Facebook, Dropbox etc., you are already using the cloud. Let’s put it this way. It’s not about the cloud, it’s not even about software. It’s all about accessing the right information and data and using that to better run your business. 2014 will be the year that small business manufacturers and wholesale distributors experience growth and success like never before, and we’re here to help that happen.
Steve Leavitt, GM of U.S. Cloud Solutions for Exact