Is your business ready for the winter?

Every year, billion dollars’ worth of productivity is lost due to severe weather.  Last week, major cities in US and England experienced their first snow in the winter.  Is there any way that we can minimize our productivity loss?  Snow falls down from the cloud and our answers may also come from the cloud – cloud computing!

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing includes a wide spectrum of online services.  Let me just name a few of them:

  • Online storage,
  • Productivity suites, and
  • Business applications. 

Once we move our data, documents and applications to cloud, we can work anywhere, anytime; no matter what the weather conditions are.

Online Storage

There are many commercial online storage providers, e.g., Dropbox, and Egnyte.  My favorite is SkyDrive which is powered by Microsoft.  It gives us 25 GB FREE online storage and also:

  • Sync 5 GB of data from your PC
  • Shares documents with people we choose
  • Integrates with Office 2010, e.g. anywhere, anytime access from the browser, edit documents together in real time, version history and lot more.

We would never forget any document when we visit our clients’ office because all my documents are accessible with a few mouse clicks.  And we can share our presentation if our clients want a copy.

We may also want to consider online backup to protect our critical business data.

Productivity Suite

The most popular cloud productivity suites are Google Apps and Office 365 (formerly Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, BPOS).  They include email, calendar, contacts, to-do list, website hosting, online documents with real time collaboration, plus a lot more.

Our office is wherever are!  We can check our email, schedule a meeting, look up our clients’ contact information, prepare our presentation or work on our next year budget with our accountant no matter where we are.  We can be in our office, home, airport or even on the bus.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting also allows us to have online meeting or conduct online training.  It is a great tool when there is 50 cm of snow on our driveway.

Business Applications

We can find all types of cloud business applications, e.g. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Finance, Human Resource Management System (HRMS)… etc.  Let me just name a few CRM cloud applications:

And if we can’t find the applications that fit our business needs, we can always migrate our existing applications to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), e.g. Google App Engine, Windows Azure, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.


Cloud computing allows us to access our application and data anywhere, anytime!  We can have enterprise grade software with a lower IT budget; SkyDrive is free, Google Apps is only USD $50 per year, and Salesforce starts at USD $5 per month.

Don’t forget about security and disaster recovery!  Do you think Amazon, Google or Microsoft is in a better position to handle security and disaster than us?

Do you want to take the risk to go back to office when there is 50 cm of snow?  Or do you want to head to the cloud now?

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

We help you to make better and faster decisions!


About Andrew Chan
Andrew Chan is an Business Consultant who gives you accurate, consistent and timely information so that you can make better and faster decisions. He is an Associate of Society of Actuaries with over 20 years of IT experience. Apart from strong analytical skills and proven technical background, he was also a former system director at Manulife who had extensive project management experience. If you are looking for someone to gather, consolidate, validate, visualize and analyze data, look no further! Andrew can provide the most cost effective business analytics solution so that you can explore, optimize, predict and visualize your business. Don’t guess on any decision, no matter it is finance, operation, marketing or sales! Always ask for evidence!

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