Tweak Your Biz » Technology » Head in the Clouds

Head in the Clouds



You’ve probably  been charged with this yourself, it is a key entrepreneurial trait. And now it seems we were right all along. Cloud  computing is here, but what does that mean in practical terms? How does it make you smarter, faster, richer? Here’s our story:

Almost every staff member of our company has a systems background,  which makes us  abhor duplication or inefficiency of any kind. Still we allowed it to creep in.  As staff were added in various locations,  things got out of control. Here’s how cloud computing brought it back. (due to  non-promotion rules I cannot mention individual brands, but you get the picture)

Online CRM (Our first cloud)

Even when there were only two of us in the same office manning the customer support line, time wasted on getting information out of each others  heads like, ‘Did you solve that customer’s query’? or ‘How many are coming to the next class?’ was eating into our profit margin. We needed a CRM system  to pull up customer history, saving their time and ours resolving queries. It happened accidentally that the solution we chose was online, and I thank the business fairy that drove us there.  As our markets and staff expanded to different locations, our customer database was centrally and securely accessible.

VOIP (Voice over IP – second cloud)

Most people associate this with call cost saving. For us, it was again about  efficiency.  We wanted strong reporting features showing  missed calls, peak time, length of calls, forwarded calls.  The system we picked has this and also allows us to courier a phone to anyone with broadband. They plug it in and it behaves like one of our company extensions. Now can add contract staff at peak times and not lose the call information.  Over-qualified support staff can be brought on from up a mountain as long as they have broadband.

Online Document Repository (third cloud)

Much time has been wasted with ‘Where’s the last flyer for Cork?’, ‘Where is our tax clearance cert’, ‘Where’s the how-to for sending a newsletter?’ , ‘Who has the grant reclaim checklist?’.  It was only very recently that this niggle of inefficiency was addressed though a cloud hosted secure online document repository.

The Final Frontier
Online Accounting (mother of all clouds)
The last piece to our puzzle is getting the company financials online.  Happily this is our domain, and we are nearly ready to deploy it for ourselves and our lucky customers.  By financials online I don’t mean having staff compiling and emailing or uploading sales and profit reports to me.  I mean day by day, minute by minute, single point of entry transaction recording.  When a sale happens, I want to see it instantly. I want it to show in my profit and loss, I want to drill down and see the nanosecond it occurred. I want to see staff to sales ratios whenever I feel like it with up-to-the-minute information.

And I want no duplication of effort. I don’t want  people writing purchases or sales up on ledgers or typing them into excel only to have them re-keyed or imported into an accounts system later. Why waste time  like that? I want the first person in the company to handle a piece of paper to be the one that gets it into the accounts system. Online. Where I can see it. Where it  is absorbed straight away into the critical information mass that I need to analyse and make decisions.

Our goal is to be fully in the cloud by end 2010. We are nearly there!


With cloud computing you can watch your business grow, under a cloudless sky.

With cloud computing you can watch your business grow, under a cloudless sky.



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The Author:

Aileen is passionate about entrepreneurs getting their heads round financial control early on in their business. Like Oprah and Tommy Hilfiger, she believes it is the true key to success. As co-owner of Aisling Software Ltd, she provides SortMyBooks online accounts software and Financial Training for self-employed people. Her background is in programming and systems analysis, and having done the corporate thing in companies like Pepsi, Canada Dry and Coors Beer in New York, and the Department of Revenue and Tax on the island paradise of Guam, and GE Money in Dublin, when she started her own small business in Killarney, the traditional methods of bookkeeping and accounting and the traditionally low expectations for financial knowledge and control for self employed people frankly drove her mad. Together with her sister Anne, they found a better way and produced SortMyBooks Accounting software for small businesses, accompanied by the all-important Financial Control Training. The company headed into the Cloud Computing arena with the launch of SortMyBooks Online Accounting in 2010. This has brought even more flexibility to the busy entrepreneur who wants to watch their business grow from anywhere in the world. Just one year on, the software won the IIA Netvisionary award and was shortlisted for the Eircom Spiders. Aileen is happy to speak at any small business event where the focus is to simplify the concepts of accounting, tax, profit and financial control in general. Give her a call! http://www.sortmybooks.com

Add Your Comment

  • Anonymous

    Can people who are already loyal followers and fans enter the competition or is it especially for newbies?

  • http://channelship.ie Channelship

    Existing & new followers can enter the @bloggertone draw to win a free broadband from Vodafone

  • Anonymous

    “I’m following @bloggertone and entered a draw http://short.ie/at799p to win a free modem/mobile broadband from Vodafone”

  • http://www.channelship.ie/ facundo

    Everyone can participate, but I guess I cannot really enter ;)

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Course you can, we’d believe you if you said you’d won!

  • http://www.channelship.ie/ facundo

    LolYou are a gentleman Barney!

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Forget Facundo,

    If I won, would it look like fix?

    :)

  • http://www.loopthing.com/?a=BnGncukOwJ4 Donagh Mc Sweeney

    Lol not at all! :D

  • Anonymous

    Great draw guys, Love the video suspense! Well done.

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Great work gents, creative,I like it

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Great way of doing the draw – and neither you guys or Niall won :). Well done.

  • http://www.channelship.ie/ facundo

    thanks guys! next time it’ll be live, webcam wasn’t responding well ;)

  • http://twitter.com/artied Arthur Doohan

    It would be nice if you could mention or at least give hints as to what actual services you are using…
    Personally, I would be interested learning more about your accounting solution.
    Could you comment on what you are doing about data retrieval from the cloud…

    AD

  • http://twitter.com/aileen456 aileen456

    hi arthur, as i understand it i cant promote brands here, but i am happy to email you if you like.
    what you mean exactly by ‘data retrieval’ from the cloud?

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Aileen, please feel free to respond to Arthur’s question,thanks, Niall

  • http://twitter.com/aileen456 aileen456

    ok great, the brands we use are as follows:

    ZOHO CRM http://www.zohocrm.com – our CRM system
    DropBox , http://www.getdropbox.com – file repository
    Connect IT for our VOIP , http://www.connectit.ie
    and our own soon to be released SortMyBooks Online for the accounts,
    hosted by C Infinity . http://www.cinfinity.ie Irish Cloud Hosting