Cloud ComputingThis is a shared post courtesy of our partner, Avatara, LLC and their CompleteCloud blog, and presents 5 ways to make your SMB more productive using new technology:

1. Move to the cloud – based infrastructure.  Ok, so you saw this one coming. But don’t just take our word for it; every day, more and more small businesses are moving to the cloud. The cloud has lots of advantages  from mobility to disaster recovery to scalability. Transitioning your on-premise computing to a private cloud-based infrastructure can save you money, lower your risk, increase your productivity and even increase employee satisfaction due to added convenience. The advantages of mobility through portable devices have saved business owners about 2 billion labor hours per year and over $65 billion per year.

2. Utilize mobile point of sale systems. With the ubiquity of tablets and mobile devices, and the integration of these devices with cost-effective point of sale applications, there’s no longer a need to invest in expensive point of sale hardware. Many outdated point of sale systems had high learning curves for employees and consequently high switching costs. Now, though, it can be as easy as setting your tablet next to the cash register. And if you’re hooked in the cloud, sync everything with ease.

3. Increase back-end productivity through cost-effective applications. The increase in business productivity software tools we’ve seen in the last few years means that backend software such as accounting, finance, HR and collaboration tools is cheaper than ever to acquire. These tools can enhance your business’s productivity and save you thousands of dollars per year, without having to invest in expensive software licenses. There are also tons of other applications out there, from mobile apps to PC apps, that can enhance collaboration and productivity. Business owners using smartphone apps save an average of 150 labor hours per year and $6,000 per year.

4. Using consumer insights data to drive business decision.  With a growing number of software tools to both gather and analyze consumer data, it is easier and cheaper than ever before to access market research about your customers. While powerhouse research firms tend to charge hefty fees, survey and polling tools as well as statistical analytical software might make economic since for your business. And this is not to mention the vast access that social media can give you to your customers—this is now perhaps one of the most effective ways to gain insights into your customer.

5. Reevaluating customer communication.  Customer communication is key: from marketing to updates to deals and offers to surveys to sales. Are you paying too much to stay close to your customer? With modern technology, there’s no longer a marginal cost per recipient: you can leverage the internet to blast an email or a social media post to thousands or millions of people in one click.

View the Video and Download Cloud Computing 101