Learn how the cloud can help your small business
As a business owner, you most likely know or are at least aware of the cloud and its capabilities. That being said, do you know how to properly use the cloud and get the most out of it for your company?
If you don’t have a specific background in technology, then you may find this feat to be somewhat difficult. After all, there are different components to the cloud. If you’re running a small business, then you may not have the manpower to adequately assist you.
“Small businesses are typically comfortable with outsourcing non-strategic tasks, such as email, payroll and fleet services. Moving to the cloud fits in with this approach and philosophy,” says Michelle Yuenger, manager of business applications at CenturyLink.
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Benefiting from the cloud
Though an incentive, cost savings shouldn’t be the sole financial strategy for moving your small business over to the cloud. For example, a greater portion of capital expenses can become more predictable operating expenses, meaning any savings could be used for reinvestments and more cloud capabilities.
Choosing a provider
Choosing the right provider to assist your company with the cloud is an important factor to consider. Specifically, you need to understand what a provider is and isn’t going to do for you and your business.
You’ll want to find out if the staff working with you is local (i.e. in the United States or offshore). Will you have a specific staff assigned to your company? It’s also recommended that you find out the hours in which a provider is willing to work with you; not everyone is available 24/7.
One of the most critical questions to consider, Yuenger adds: “What are the consequences if the provider fails to solve the issue?”
Learning about security
While most providers will have good security measures for various scenarios, if your particular business is over sensitive when it comes to protection, then you may choose to be more selective when hiring a provider.
Don’t be afraid to do extensive research on these providers. Specifically, look at a provider’s financial health to assess the longevity of the company and to prevent paying for services you don’t really need or want.
Most importantly, don’t pay for security if you don’t need it.
Take your time
Migrating to the cloud is a big step, so don’t rush into it — take your time! Before you make any changes, identify what your specific needs are for your business, as well as the type of support that is going to help your company prosper.
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Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.