Opportunities In The Cloud

Jonathan Rochelle knows what Google can do to help small businesses. As a project manager for Google Docs, he has played some part in the development of some of their software. After all, it was Google that acquired his Web spreadsheet business in 2005.

Reuters spoke with Jonathan about some of those cloud computing tools that can help businesses grow.

Many small companies aren’t taking full advantage of cloud computing, despite its lower cost and greater convenience. Why?

Rochelle: There’s still a lack of awareness about the difference between cloud computing and locally installed software. With cloud computing, you can access your stuff from anywhere, you don’t need to get a new computer. If you open up an office and you have three employees, there’s still a traditional approach to buying three computers and networking them together. With cloud computing, you don’t necessarily need to buy new computers or network them. Instead, everyone can use their own computers and access shared documents online. The old approach is going to change, but there’s a legacy that’s making it hard. One of the things holding Web computing back from becoming mainstream is the shelf. You don’t go to a store to buy it. People don’t know where to go to “buy” cloud computing.

What are some tips for small businesses shopping for cloud-based software?

Rochelle: Following other companies that are using proven solutions is one of the most important things. And, don’t use combinations of programs that don’t fit well together. So, where you can, you want to stick with a single company that offers most of what you are looking for. What’s more, don’t try to match the product exactly to your process. That is really expensive. If you are willing to change your process just a bit to match a technology that’s trusted and credible and working, you can save a lot of money. It’s worth the little bit of pain of changing your process so that you’re using standard technology.

Photo by Karin Dalziel

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