Assess, Brainstorm, Create: The ABCs of Cloud Processes

Written by Formstack on June 6, 2013

Posted in Lead Generation

Not to freak you out or anything, but cloud computing is everywhere. Look up to the top right of your monitor – do you see a Dropbox or Box icon? You’re using cloud computing. Are you a Gmail or Google Drive user? You’re using cloud computing. If you’re reading this as a Formstack customer, your form submissions are stored in the cloud. Even uploading photos to Facebook uses some degree of cloud storage.

Cloud computing has become such an ingrained part of our personal networking, and it can have immense benefits for your business too. Think about it – did it cost you anything to upload documents to a basic Dropbox or Box plan? And you can generate links and share form data with anyone of your choosing, right? Because cloud computing apps are inexpensive to use and accessible from anywhere with an Internet or 3G connection, making the switch to cloud tools could provide high cost savings and increased efficiency at your organization.

We know there are a ton of super valuable cloud apps out there – so many, in fact, that you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out which ones are best for your company. Fortunately, we’ve broken the initial process down into three steps that are easy to remember. So easy, in fact, that if you know the first three letters of the alphabet, you’re already on your way.

The ABCs of Cloud Processes: Assess, Brainstorm, Create

  1. Assess. Before you jump in and create a million accounts with a million cloud companies, you need to assess the needs your company has that can be solved through cloud computing. Sit down with your team and identify a few deficiencies or gaps in workflow that could be solved with cloud computing, such as an easier way to share data or keep your remote workers in the loop.

  2. Brainstorm. There are a few facets to this step:

    • After you’ve identified your needs, brainstorm a few ways you can simplify those needs using cloud computing. For example, do you need a way to build hype for an event? Integrate your event registration form with Twitter and users can tweet the form to their friends or you can automatically update your feed when new people register. Are you trying to find a way to easily save and share accounting documents? Using a cloud-based accounting tool with cloud storage can allow you to share those docs without saving them to your computer and emailing them out.

    • Once you’ve brainstormed some processes, research companies that you think might fulfill your needs. Sign up for any free trials or demos the company provides. Consider the features they offer versus what you might need. While every type of cloud application has an industry leader, it’s okay to go with another one that might offer more personalized features.

    • Also, factor in the overall cost of implementing these cloud processes. This could help you if you need to convince your boss or supervisor to commit financially to your plan. Set up a cost comparison between your selected cloud tools and any expenses incurred if you went with an IT provider (including costs to develop any forms you might need). This will help them see the significant cost savings incurred by switching to the cloud.

  3. Create. The final step is to actually commit to your plans for cloud-based work processes. Take advantage of each companies’ support documents or user groups when building out your projects or structures. Additionally, make sure to log your progress with each new service or integration. Keep a Google Doc where you date every new integration or edit to your system. It sounds simple, but it will help you evaluate your systems and make tweaks more easily.

Hopefully these tips provide a good starting point for your organization as you research if cloud computing is right  for you. Do you have any questions or want to get in touch with someone who  can further explain the benefits of cloud computing? Let us know in the comments below!