by Keean Persaud
Published on 5 December 2011
The cloud is great for small businesses! It has opened up previously costly software options. As an example, not long ago supply chain software was unavailable to most businesses and now cloud-based software (or Software as a Service) has enabled smaller companies to compete where it was not possible before.
Cloud computing proliferates through the market by introducing new services that can be delivered online. Solutions such as online ERP tools, collaboration, storage or demand planning have become common in the self-service software world.
Applications such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMS) particularly have created an environment for companies to not only service their customers but also it has permitted businesses to be self-sufficient and require less vendor intervention.
The advent of cloud solutions is allowing companies to maximize their operations by having the software available as a service. Companies know their business and what they require within their daily operations. This new functionality allows them to modify and leverage their existing carriers, suppliers, and can help them with tasks such as fuel management, by being able to shop for best prices to maximize loads by couriers, distances, routes and even be able to control the amount of volume by trailer.
Being more competitive
By being able to optimize transportation and manage inventory, businesses have the opportunity to capitalize on the low point of entry making them more competitive than before and able to close the gap between larger companies and their competitors.
Many traditional enterprise software vendors have embraced the self-service model to allow smaller businesses a route to use and customize functionality. ERP vendors such as NetSuite, BlueLink, Epicor, SAP and many others have adopted customizable workflows and embedded business intelligence to adapt to customer specific needs.
Buy and use only what is needed
Businesses of all sizes can now use cloud solutions to build the specific software functionality that they require. As it should be, companies can find software that fits them and not solutions where they have to cram their business process into a software that does not fit exactly what they do.
The cloud environment, internet and companies that provide cloud consulting services have made it easier for small businesses to enter the once heavy capital costs of on-premise software solutions.
By offering many options for more organizations, cloud solutions and service providers have provided a mean to be self-sufficient, to become more competitive and to evolve quickly. In times of economic crisis, it can fuel growth and facilitate changes in business processes without major capital expense.
This allows these smaller companies to compete on an even playing field with their larger counterparts and run more efficiently. This is better for the economy and business in general.
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