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Is the cloud critical for your business?

Is the cloud critical for your business?

Tim Reed is the CEO of MYOB, Australia’s leading business solutions provider, serving 1.2 million businesses across Australia and NZ. He joined MYOB after 10 years working in the US and became CEO in 2008. Tim’s love of technology and the way it can drive productivity has helped propel MYOB in its vision to “make business life easier”. He shares some of his insights with Resilium.

How do technology needs evolve as a business grows? 

All businesses produce and rely on information, whether it’s financial records, customer interactions, business contacts, employee details, regulatory requirements and so on. The larger your business grows, the harder it is to ensure that information is managed, shared and different functions work together effectively.

Putting the right systems and processes in place is an important investment and an essential part of helping your business to grow.

How critical is cloud for a business as it grows?

With today’s digital economy intensifying the need for business owners to be more competitive, it’s even more important for businesses to leverage opportunities to differentiate their business and broaden its scope.

  1. Cloud software enables SMEs to establish an online presence and thereby connect with a wider group of potential clients.
  2. Cloud software can help streamline internal processes and thereby free up time. Some cloud accounting software incorporates bank feeds which speeds up data entry and bank reconciliation processes, saving businesses up to 10 hours of time.
  3. Cloud software allows for better collaboration between specialist resources. SMEs don’t have teams of people so often rely on outside experts (bookkeepers, accountants, designers, copywriters, etc.) and cloud software allows for virtual teams to all work on the same information at the same time, and thereby optimise their unique input.
  4. Cloud solutions can also help reduce the cost of IT systems and infrastructure because you can take what you need when you need it rather than paying upfront. This means SMEs have more money to focus on things like customer acquisition and retention.

One of the things you do is the "State of the Digital Nation". How well are Australian businesses adopting the cloud?

As more small and medium business operators experience revenue growth due to the use of online technologies, the divide between the online savvy and the online cautious is widening.

The March 2014 MYOB Business Monitor (a study of 1032 Australian SMEs, established in 2004) revealed a higher proportion of online-savvy businesses reported revenue growth in the year to February 2014 and expect future revenue growth than those without online technologies. They also reported higher economic confidence and more work/sales in their short-term pipeline.

What’s clear to us from our years of conducting research into SMEs’ use of online technologies is that businesses with an online presence reach more people and are more engaged with their customers. This translates to stronger business performance. For example, those with a website are 56 per cent more likely to see annual revenue rise, and those who use cloud computing are 30 per cent more likely to do so.

What are some of the mistakes that businesses make when growing?

It can be tough for a business during the growth phase, and it’s important to ensure the foundations of your business are strong. That starts by making sure the existing client relationships you have are healthy. The end of one year or the start of a new year is an especially great time to pick up the phone and have a conversation, and by doing that you remain top of mind to that person and you’re far more likely to get more business from them going forward.

Ensure you have healthy team relationships. People are motivated and inspired by business owners who can explain the story of the business and are out there working alongside the team members. That’s what small businesses do much better than large corporations.

The third thing is to get online. Businesses that are online are far more likely to see their revenue grow and be optimistic about the future. Build a website, set up a Facebook page, set up a LinkedIn account and just learn. You don’t have to be a master the day you start. Just get online and get started. You’ll find it’s a really exciting journey that will lead to better business outcomes.

What’s the best piece of advice you received when starting up your own business?

If your gut is telling you something is not right then stop, work out why and then only proceed if you’ve resolved that internal voice. I’ve followed this at a couple of critical junctures and have always been glad that I did.

One of the key concerns when it comes to putting your business’ critical information on the cloud is its security. Find out if your data will be safe on the cloud.

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