SYDNEY, Australia (December 1, 2011) – Johnnie McDonald of Cloud Adapt is very passionate around the benefits that Cloud computing can bring to organisations, in particular the productivity improvements and cost reduction.
We are constantly asked, “what applications do we run?”, “how much do we spend on IT?”, “Do we have any infrastructure to manage?” To answer these questions we thought we would put together a brief blog to share our experience and the benefits we have seen more broadly.
Xero Accounting Software – The Easiest Accounting Software
Xero – as per it’s claims is simply the easiest accounting package we have ever experienced – as well as this, we are very excited by the low cost – $29 per month, providing us with the following;
Online Accounting. Providing us with a view of our cashflow at anytime from anywhere.
Bank reconciliation. Bank feeds come in over night and are automatically matched to expenses and or invoices if known, otherwise it takes a couple of clicks to create a new expense such as a bank fee.
Invoicing. Invoices can be created in a manner of minutes and then emailed out to customers. We have never printed an invoice since we founded the company – everything is done electronically – it is so easy and it just makes sense.
Our bookkeeper every couple weeks will jump online and check our accounts, assisting with the more difficult reconciliation tasks and ensuring that our BAS and Super commitments are up to date, it literally takes her less than a few hours each month. Everything else we do ourselves as it is just so easy to use.
We constantly hear from customers that running their accounts and keeping up to date requires a lot of work. The ease of running Xero for us means this has very much become a background function that just works.
For more information around Xero, either visit their site www.xero.com or talk to the #1 Accounting Partner for XEO for 2011 – Guy Pearson and his team at www.interactiveaccounting.com.au – they will help to understand your business and how you can move to the suite in no time.
Google Apps for Business
Google Apps for Business provides you with an alternative to using Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Sharepoint, File Servers, expensive backup solutions and archiving. Whilst alot of these Software licences are not required, being Cloud based there is the further benefit you no longer need to spend on all of the infrastructure that was procured to support these systems.
Most of the organisations that we talk to are absolutely shocked when they realise what is available within the Google Apps for Business solution, it really does replace a lot of the bespoke applications we have had to maintain and pay for separately in the past. On top of this there was the difficulties of maintaining these – from upgrades through to their own operational inefficiencies for example backup and off siting of backup.
Google Apps for Business at $50 USD per person has enabled us to move beyond the shackles of previous solutions and ensure we can;
Stay Nimble – Google Apps for Business enables us to run custom email addresses (@yourcompanyname), ensuring we have been able to setup aliases such as Sydney@, Sales@, mis-spelling of our names and groups to ensure that email gets to the right person on time at low cost.
Work from anywhere, with anyone – Google Apps leveraging the Cloud means that we can log on at the office, at home, or on the road – using a computer, tablet or mobile and be productive.
Create documents easily - Google Apps lets you create documents, spreadsheets and presentations very efficiently, as you are able to collaborate in real time with others during the creation – Being able to share documents as opposed to files back and forth has greatly accelerated our ability to collaborate, both within our company and when sharing information with partners, or customers.
Simplify our administration – Google Apps has very intuitive admin tools meaning that we can add additional email addresses, and take care of any other administration within seconds. The tools are incredibly easy to use and learn.
Not worry about Security – with dual factor authentication built in, you can rest assured that “Google has your back”, with literally thousands of security specialists globally, Google has invested more in security than almost any other organisation in the world.
Not worry about Backup – We do not run any backup software, knowing that all of information is backed up via Google and stored in multiple differing data centres means we don’t have to worry about backup. Every document we create, we create within the Google suite – losing information is simply something we need not worry about any more.
Like Accounting, our Email, Office productivity solution, file sharing and calendaring has become a background chore with Google Apps for Business. We have shown companies from 10 people through to 1,000 the benefits they can obtain through leveraging the suite. Recently we demonstrated to a 300 person organisation how to remove $1,000,398 in costs over 3 years, conversely for a 10 person organisation, we demonstrated savings around the $100,000 mark.
For more information around Google Apps for Business, please visit us at www.cloudadapt.com.au/google-apps-for-business/ or call us on 1300 66 55 18 we have built our business around helping others to get the benefits of “Going Google”.
We run WordPress as our content management system (CMS) for our website – According to Wikipedia, WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August powers 22% of all new websites. WordPress is the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.
A CMS is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease.
When we spoke to differing website designers and providers, we spent a lot of time thinking about the CMS that we would be bound to. We knew that with whatever tool we chose, we would be tied to this for many years. All of the CMS providers we spoke to charged a monthly fee and didn’t seem to have the same development resources until we stumbled upon WordPress.
The decision for us, was not just about cost, it was also around features and ensuring that the CMS tool didn’t become outdated in the face of new innovations – an example of which could be Google +. On the day of release of Google + WordPress had a plugin which we could incorporate into our site within seconds. For many CMS tools – this type of plugin still does not exist, whilst their customers are paying significant fees to subscribe.
Fortunately for us, we received some coaching from Steve Orenstein (@sorenstein) – the CEO of www.connect2field.com – Steve insisted we use WordPress and wholeheartedly recommended the suite. We have never looked back.
We then contracted an offshore development team to build our site whilst assisting in the design and development. We were shocked as it cost more to have our business cards designed and printed and took longer than it did to build our website.
Our ongoing cost for our website is only the hosting cost via our hosting provider, we have no fees for CMS with WordPress, whilst still being able to leverage masses of varying plugins via the millions of developers building tools for WordPress – often at no cost. Any updates we make on the site – usually we can do these ourselves. WordPress is very easy to use.
If you are looking for a website yourself, get in touch with us at Sales@cloudadapt.com.au and we will be able to help you with making your own decision and guide you in how to very efficiently get to the top of Google whilst making the most of your own presence on the Web.
We realised early that content is king and we continually try to update our content to assist in the marketing of our message – such as what you are reading now. We also know content will assist in ensuring we maintain and improve our relevance on the web.
This said, content creation easily overtakes any other administrative activity within our business, however we know that it is imperative to maintain. We try to make sure we are constantly releasing 2-3 new blogs per week, often this can consume upwards of 5-8 hours a week.
Blogging is an incredibly effective way to get your message out to the masses and we are continually amazed at the number of enquiries we get inbound from our website, if you are not already publishing a blog, we would recommend strongly considering it.
If you are struggling to maintain your own content or if you don’t know where to start – talk to the Kings in Content – Craig Hodges and his team at www.kingcontent.com.au
Search engine optimisation
For us, having a lean advertising and marketing budget – we knew that a lot of our business would come via being near the top on Google, We have been very diligent in choosing terms that relate closely to customers that are potential candidates for any of our services for example – Google Apps for Business, which is our core business. The progress on our own terms has been astounding – we were at the top of Google for “Google Apps for Business”, within a matter of months thank you to our SEO team.
Today knowing that SEO is so important for our business and for our customers – we employ a full-time team of 4 who are incredibly passionate around the services they provide and have demonstrated success to a growing number of customers.
We recently helped a Sydney based Legal services company get to the top of Google for 5 terms within 3 months, to say the customer is impressed is an understatement.
Our team are great, they have a range of smart tools and I.P to accelerate the ability to assist customers to get to the top of Search results effectively and efficiently, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.cloudadapt.com.au/search-engine-optimisation/ for more information around how we can help.
A chance meeting at a networking night opened our eyes to a new approach towards legal services and solved the dilemma for us as which law firm we engage.
Starting a new business requires a significant amount of contracts, from employment, shareholders, distribution, reseller to terms and conditions for websites and proposals there is a significant amount of work required in drafting these contracts and within this of course comes risk.
None of the legal organisations we had spoken with, seemed to understand our business and the nuances of the Cloud, even the concept seemed lost upon the vast majority of them.
A networking evening with Guy Pearson of Interactive Accounting solved the dilemma, Enjel Phoon of Marque Lawyers showed very strong interest in understanding our business and then demonstrated an amazing amount of knowledge in trends in our industry and changed our perception for ever of how Legal organisations can support a business. When Enjel mentioned that she was previously the legal counsel for Richard Branson and understands startups and some of the inherent risks we were sold.
Marque Lawyers have provided us with amazing support from the onset, turning around contracts in record time and all whilst being paid a monthly retainer for unlimited legal services. Enjel and Michael are always on hand, with helpful advice which has been invaluable. Being able to state that Richard Branson’s ex legal counsel is supporting us has even enabled Ben to impress at the pub.
We strongly encourage any organisation who is unhappy with their law firm to look to a new fresh face in the legal industry – Marque Lawyers – http://www.marquelawyers.com.au/
As their website states – it is “Law, done differently”, be prepared to be impressed.
This article talks to Xero and Google Apps for Business as the foundations of our business, these are the productivity tools that really enable us to work from any where at any time. On top of this – WordPress, Content and SEO improves our presence and helps us to be found.
We spend VERY little on I.T – further we have VERY little complexity within our business, all of our tools are intentionally intuitive and require very little administration. To answer the question we are often asked, No – we do not have any files stored outside of the Cloud and we do not have any infrastructure to manage. The Cloud is real and can be leveraged to run your business today very simplistically.
The days of buying on-site infrastructure, software and complexity as well as paying I.T consultants significant fees to run your organisations I.T Services are numbered, we enjoy demonstrating to others the simplicity with which they can enable their business through Cloud Computing, Websites, a good SEO Strategy, blogging and good content.
Although we have come a long way, there is a lot of work to do – our next goal is to drive up the conversations on our website, ensuring it is able to become a more efficient lead generation tool, it’s one thing to be generating good traffic, ensuring you are converting business is the ultimate goal.
Do you have any tips for tools to run a small to medium business? Please share in the comments below.
Cloud Adapt is so confident Cloud Computing will provide real business benefits, that all consulting engagements are backed by a 30% cost savings guarantee; stating that if they cannot remove more than 30% cost against the otherwise spend in the areas they study, then there is no charge for their report.
For more information or for further details of how to organise consulting, please contact your Cloud Adapt representative or email email@example.com
About Cloud Adapt
Cloud Adapt helps organisations realise the benefits of Cloud based business applications by; providing software and services that are focused on removing cost, improving productivity and ensuring that change management is tailored to meet customers’ specific requirements.
Cloud Adapt is Australian owned and managed and is represented in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. Find out why Cloud Adapt was a recent finalist in the Red Herring 100 companies to watch in the Asia Pacific Region at www.redherring.com/RHA/2011/finalists.html or by calling us on 1300 66 55 18