- Cloud computing is the future, the sooner SMBs embrace it, the better their chances of staying competitive in the market
- Starting out with spreadsheets is expected, but the ultimate goal is to move into the cloud
- The next step then becomes adopting online database software in its entirety
Cloud computing – the future of data storage
Online database software solutions are a product of the highly-connected digital world we find ourselves in today and it looks like they will also be a part of our foreseeable future too. It, therefore, becomes imperative for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) – that want to stay competitive – to keep up with this popular remote data storage trend and adopt it as soon as possible, if they haven’t already.
Initially, when an SMB is still small and just starting out, it can rely on spreadsheets and workbooks to meet their data capturing and sharing demands. But, as soon as it outgrows that stage and it becomes obvious that a data storage system upgrade is required to meet the challenges their growing data size (and the complex demand of the information they require from it also grows), it is time to consider a move to cloud computing.
Therefore, although spreadsheets can serve as initial data collection and sharing tools during the early stages of a business, they won’t help a business stay afloat for long, let alone become a leader in its niche market. Running a successful business now requires accurate, up-to-date data to be available round the clock, to help make decisions based on complex (but prompt) calculations and analysis.
This is precisely why initial SMB growth plans should always include a move into cloud computing and, more specifically, online database software. After all, it makes sense to make the move to the current data storage technology trend and the way the world is all headed – towards adopting as the client-server configuration of the future.
What is online database software?
Online database software solutions are cloud software suites (a collection of various applications), that are used to create and administer remote databases that the clients themselves can design (and build) depending on their unique data storage requirements.
These database software solutions also allow the clients – who are usually SMBs – to create web-based applications that they can then use to read from, and write to, their customized online databases. Although they seem quite complex affairs, what most first-time users find surprising is the fact that they can do all the database and application creation without them having an in-depth knowledge of database designing or computer programming.
Online database software – So, what is the big deal?
Now, apart from the two main benefits we’ve just discussed, online database software solutions can also help SMBs by allowing them to:
- Collaborate globally: colleagues can work together on the same project or go over it with people from all over the world
- Share across the world: authorized users can upload files and data on the online servers which can then be accessed by anyone else from anywhere around the world
- Communicate with everyone: stakeholders on a project who share or use data can exchange ideas in real-time via comments, for example
- Stay updated: everyone working together or overseeing the servers and data use will stay informed and, thus, on the same page via the use of emails and notification messages
- Automate manual and repetitive business processes: just like with any other cloud computing technology, an SMB that opts for online database software solutions will be able to automate their manual processes which will enhance their overall performance
Finally, should the SMBs not have a tech-savvy employee who can handle the designing of the database and application requirements, or that they simply choose not to get their hands dirty, most online database software service providers have their own professional services and support experts on standby. These professionals take a look at SMBs’ requirements and go on to design the perfect solution that the client will then be able to implement within a short amount of time.
Business advantages of online database software
Any business, and not just SMBs, that chooses to use online database software solutions can expect to benefit from the following advantages:
- Their data is stored in an environment which is much more secure than any sort of storage design that could they could implement locally
- The online database software companies have made it their bread and butter to take care of clients’ data. If they are as competent as they are expected to be, it means they have the best technical and security personnel they can get their hands on working for them
- This commitment to professionalism will also be found in the way the data is backed up and, should there be an unfortunate disaster, restored quickly and correctly
- Data that is stored with such companies will be kept on servers, and accessed through networks, that are supported by the latest technologies
- This, in turn, will help cut costs when it comes to IT budgets as there will be no overhead to take care of and payment is only done to store and access the remote data – nothing else
- When the SMB needs some more processing power, scaling up can be done with a minimum amount of downtime – if any at all
- Issues regarding compliance, upgrades, and license renewals are handled by the online database software company allowing the client to focus on more pressing matters closer to their core business processes
- The best database software always have one thing in common: they make their users’ and administrators’ lives easy with their dashboards and reports that help paint comprehensive pictures using the stored data
Finally, and most importantly, a business that uses a reliable online database company will be able to impress their clients with the efficiency of their services. They will also be able to get ahead of the competition by advertising the fact that they use the latest technology – something that will also catch the eyes of new customers.
User benefits of online database software
The advantages of online database software don’t just benefit the SMBs alone but also their staff – on an individual level – as well as their clients and any other end users who get to consume the data.
The benefits they get include, but are not limited to:
- Like the SMB that owns the data, they too will be able to access the data from anywhere in the world
- A good online database software company will always have a user-friendly front-end interface that accesses the data, enables users to work on it, and then lets them save their work back on the servers
- Collaboration becomes a breeze as everyone is able to work on data at the same time, wherever in the world they may be
- An efficient data processing system makes the work environment a productive one because the staff will be able to work better and efficiently
Again, we can see that the overall benefit of using database software works toward empowering the SMB itself and is, therefore, an investment worth making.
When does your business need online database software solutions?
Below, we will have a look some signs which could indicate your business is ready to adopt an online database software solution:
- You have too many spreadsheets and even more versions of each one of them
- Despite the spreadsheet chaos, you still haven’t managed to reign in your data as it continues to grow in size
- Your current reporting and updates setup (if you even have one) doesn’t meet your growing demands for timely and accurate information
- As your business grows there is an ever more increasing demand – which you struggle to meet –for collaboration on projects and information sharing
- You realize that you need to expand your IT capability without having to spend time on the administration of personnel and hardware as well as having to pay for any overhead costs that come with them
Any of these signs occurring in your business environment should be taken as a clear indication that you need to make the move to the best, cost-effective, and efficient online database software solution you can get your hands on.
The good news is: you have got absolutely nothing to lose because, believe it or not, there are free trials for online database software so you can try it out!