Cloud Business Featured Article
Five App Tips to Help Small Businesses Leverage the CloudJanuary 10, 2013
By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing
Given all the ups and downs in the economy over the past few years, it would appear that cloud-based services arrived just in the nick of time – especially for small businesses that are forced to do more with less.
AppDirect, an online marketplace that manages and provides cloud-based tools for businesses, was launched with this need in mind. Today, SMBs can leverage the cloud and the business applications they need to compete.
For example, first time cloud users should avoid purchasing multi-functional applications that may be expensive and hard to implement, according to AppDirect co-CEO Daniel Saks. He recently offered the following app tips for small businesses:
1. Pick an app that meets your needs. Instead of an “all-in-one” approach, small businesses should identify their exact pain point and then consider software that addresses it most effectively. Multi-functional applications – such as invoicing software that also does sales forecasting and accounting – can be expensive and complex.
2. Popular apps aren’t always the best. Just because an application is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Spend some time researching your options. If the app involves complicated setup or integrations, see what kind of assistance the vendor offers.
3. Educate your employees and partners. Even if an app is easy to use, that doesn't mean that your employees and partners will automatically know how it works, or understand why you’re using it. Make sure that you take the time to demo the solution with your employees and talk to your partners, too; the last thing you want is to discover that your new accounting app isn’t compatible with QuickBooks, and your CPA can’t use it.
4. Turn to providers you trust. Research shows that small businesses prefer to obtain technology solutions – like Internet service and web hosting – from trusted local providers.
5. Use a single portal to access apps. Using multiple cloud applications can quickly get out of hand, especially if the software comes from multiple vendors. That's why using a central location – such as an application marketplace – to manage all of your apps is critical.
In related news, AppDirect recently launched the AppDirect Developer Incubator (ADI) program, an initiative designed to give software developers hands-on experience and expert guidance to help them launch their own startup companies and become successful entrepreneurs.
Open to candidates worldwide, the ADI offers talented developers a unique opportunity to build their skills and advance their careers while learning to navigate the increasingly competitive startup sector.
Want to learn more about cloud computing solutions geared specifically towards small to medium-sized businesses? Don’t miss the Cloud4SMB Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud4SMB Expo. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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