Believe it or not, but there are still people who are debating whether cloud has a place in the world of business or whether it is just a passing phase. It is all starting to feel like the good old days when various people were telling the world how the internet would never take off. Whichever source you consult, you find out that the number of companies that utilise the cloud is growing and shows no signs of stopping.
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However, would it be possible to run an entire company from and in the cloud, exclusively? Could one run a relatively successful business that employs a dozen employees, works only online and uses no software but operating systems and the software that runs solely in the cloud?
Talking Purely Infrastructure
Before we can address the “peripheral” concerns and philosophies of operating exclusively in the cloud, we need to cover the infrastructure. In other words, are there enough cloud-based tools and SaaS services that would allow a company with 12 employees to operate without a hitch and, hopefully, grow?
For one, it is possible to register a business online. Depending on where you live, your government will have provided an online service to register your company online. By using a cloud service called DocuSign, you can sign everything you need online. This will also come in handy later.
The next step would probably be an office suite of some kind, allowing you to take care of the most simple of tasks. Google Docs or LibreOffice will be more than capable to get things done. Next, you will probably need a piece of collaboration software, and the choice is yours here. It is. If you want a bit more help in managing your employees, you can always go for an employee time clock management tool.
You will also find that there are many cloud-based accounting solutions out there for you to choose from. Even if you decide to run an e-commerce business of some kind, you can nowadays hire 3rd party warehousing and shipping solution that you can manage online and without the need to be present physically there.
In essence, whatever you can think of, there is a company that offers the service that is cloud-based and available without the need to run anything on your company computers. If you were to start a business today, going all-cloud is a possibility.
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The Obvious Advantages
Doing it full-on cloud-based has some advantages that are quite obvious. For one, running our hypothetical 12-people company using nothing but online services and cloud solutions will be much, much cheaper than renting out office space, purchasing all kinds of equipment and traditional software solutions. Often, running a tiny company using these solutions will have such low costs that it will seem almost unreal.
Moreover, scaling up and down will be far easier due to scalability has become one of the most important features of most SaaS solutions. As your profits and demands grow, so will the services that you pay for. No waste.
The adaptability of your new company will also be a huge bonus, as you will not have to worry about old equipment being compatible with new software and new updates making, for example, a portion of your data unusable.
A Few Challenges
Of course, running an all-cloud company will also have its challenges, especially if one decides to run it without actually having any office space to talk of. This will include onboarding new employees who will need a bit of time to get the hang of all the software that is used to keep everything running.
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Also, there is the security issue which many people believe is still not handled in a perfectly satisfying way in the cloud. It will be a long time before people are truly and convinced they can store their essential data off-site.
There are also certain limitations in the performance of cloud-based software solutions and while this is not an issue most of the time, there are situations in which these short delays and minor problems simply won’t do. It should be pointed out that this is a problem that might (and probably will) be easily solved in the future.
The Transitional Cases
At the moment, the vast majority of businesses are in the transitional phase where they are moving certain parts of their business to the cloud while keeping the essential ones in-house. They are meeting some challenges on their way. It is a question whether they plan on going all-cloud in any foreseeable future or whether they plan on staying hybrid for a long time. Their future probably does look all-cloud, but it will be some time before it becomes the present.
At present, however, a company can be all-cloud. If it wishes.