Making the jump to the cloud can seem scary.
The good news? It’s easier to upgrade your business processes to include cloud collaboration than you think.
Plus, you’ll save your business money by doing so.
What exactly is cloud collaboration, and what are its benefits?
It just so happens there are quite a few. Here are 19 of them.
But first, what do we mean by “cloud collaboration”?
What Is Cloud Collaboration?
Cloud collaboration is a service that provides business communication and collaboration solutions by hosting them in the cloud, making them available from anywhere on any device.
It has become incredibly popular in recent years, with data from Statista showing that worldwide revenue from cloud collaboration and email services is estimated to reach more than 93 billion dollars by 2025.
What’s more, cloud-based services like Microsoft Teams saw a rise in daily users from 13 million to 145 million in fewer than two years.
That’s growth of more than 1000%!
There are two primary types of cloud collaboration services.
- 1 - Productivity suites e.g. Google Apps
- 2 - Business Communications services (aka unified communications services (UCaaS)).
The former group takes care of file sharing and file creation. Google Apps, for example, includes Google Drive and Google’s alternatives to Microsoft Office applications - Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, among others.
The latter group takes care of your business’ internal and external lines of communication. That means instant messaging, voice and video calling etc.
The easier it is for your colleagues to communicate with each other, and the more methods they have available to do this, the more efficient they can be in sharing information and brainstorming ideas and solutions.
Both types of cloud services are indispensable to collaborating effectively.
Let’s look at the benefits of both.
The Benefits of Cloud Collaboration
Here's the list:
- 1 & 2 - Happier Employees & Greater Productivity
- 3 - More Methods of Communication
- 4 - More Participation
- 5 & 6 & 7 - Cloud Services Are Mobile-Friendly & More Accessible & They Save Time
- 8 - Generate And Share Better Ideas
- 9 - More Access to Large Files
- 10 - File-Sharing Efficiency
- 11 - Real-time Updates
- 12 & 13 - Lower Total Cost of Ownership & Forward Thinking Providers
- 14 - Scalability
- 15 & 16 - Cloud Collaboration Platforms Are More Flexible & Integrate With Other Products and Services
- 17 - Easy Deployment and Maintenance
- 18 - They Make Backing Up A Breeze
- 19 - Better Security
- 20 - Future-proofing Your Infrastructure
- BONUS: Better business results
1 & 2 - Happier Employees & Greater Productivity
Happy employees are productive employees.
And if the lockdown restrictions of the pandemic made anything clear, it was that the increased isolation that came with mandated remote work takes its toll on workers.
53% of workers surveyed by Statista during the pandemic reported “increased sadness in day-to-day life.”
Whilst video conferencing is no cure-all, the face-to-face interaction with friends and colleagues provided by cloud collaboration services certainly helped us here at Yay.com.
Plus, with remote and hybrid working on the rise in the modern workplace, such solutions are likely to continue to increase colleagues’ senses of wellbeing and involvement.
3 - More Methods of Communication
Cloud collaboration platforms give your staff more methods of communicating with each other.
Unified communications platforms provide business instant messaging, video and voice calling and file sharing solutions.
These modes of communication make remote and hybrid working possible, which can attract higher-quality applicants to vacant positions at your business.
4 - More Participation
If you don’t make it easy for your remote colleagues to participate, chances are they won’t.
When members of staff participate less often, they lose touch with business details, rendering them less effective.
Cloud collaboration services (sometimes called web-based collaboration services) make it easy for your staff to participate from anywhere since all you need is an internet connection to access them.
Plus, since they provide multiple methods of communication (see above), each member of staff is bound to find a method that suits them. Introverts might prefer instant messaging while executives will thrive with the face-to-face transparency of video conferencing.
5 & 6 & 7 - Cloud Services Are Mobile-Friendly & More Accessible & They Save Time
In August 2021, mobile internet traffic made up more than 56% of internet traffic worldwide.
Google themselves now rank websites based on the performance of their mobile site rather than their desktop version in their own “mobile first” initiative.
It’s also well known that people have a smartphone to hand for more of their day than they do a laptop or PC.
If you’ve members of staff who are on the go, switching to mobile-friendly collaboration services (hint: those hosted in the cloud ;) ) allows for faster response times.
When response times are faster, workflows move more seamlessly.
In other words, there’s less time wasted. And less time wasted means greater business efficiency.
8 - Generate and Share Better Ideas Faster
When your staff are more engaged and switched on, and they’re participating frequently, there’s less friction in the frameworks that generate business value.
That means a business environment where great ideas flow freely, leading to deeper insights and, down the line, higher revenue.
The multiple methods of communication that cloud collaboration services offer also grease the wheels when it comes to implementing those great ideas.
9 - Share Large Files More Easily
Large files are a pain to share unless you’re using the cloud.
Email is slow and clunky, with providers like Gmail limiting attachment size to 25MB.
Cloud services like Google Drive or iCloud make sharing large files easy. So easy that we’d be surprised if you’re not already using them.
That 4K promotional video the marketing team produced would be impossible to view if not for cloud-hosted services like these.
10 - File-Sharing Efficiency
It’s not just that you can share larger files with cloud services; you can also share more files more quickly.
Business instant messaging tools can be used to chat with colleagues and share files off the cuff. Rather than upload to a 3rd party service, you can use a cloud-hosted service like Yay.com to ping a message and a file to a friend.
And perhaps a meme or two as well (⌐■_■).
11 - Updates in Real Time
Cloud services stay in sync all the time.
ALL. THE. TIME!
Those files you upload are visible to your colleagues the instant they’re done uploading.
That means less time spent coordinating what and where the file is you’re supposed to be collaborating on and more time generating value for the company.
This is the essence of real time collaboration.
12 & 13 - Lower Total Cost of Ownership & Providers That Drive Progress
Everyone likes to save money, but business owners are all too aware of the hidden costs that always seem to offset lower prices for the services that matter.
A poorer product or a lower quality of service. These are the two evils you’ll typically have to choose between when you hear a salesperson shout ‘lower prices’.
But here’s the thing.
Lower prices as a result of higher business efficiency are the fuel that drives economic and technological improvements.
When new, better technologies come along, entrepreneurs can leverage them to provide a better level of service than competitors for the same price.
This is exactly what’s been seen in the telecommunications industry, with young companies leveraging hosted VoIP technology to outmanoeuvre telecoms giants.
Since they’re hosted in the cloud, providers can make rapid feature updates and upgrades without users having to lift a finger.
Also, it does away with the need for on-premises equipment like a switchboard or PBX (private branch exchange).
Such equipment requires regular maintenance, which comes at a price. It also requires a fleet of desk phones for your staff.
Hosted VoIP solutions, by contrast, require no equipment. They’re delivered from servers as applications, meaning they can run on any device.
Just as you can access your files on Google Drive or iCloud from your smartphone, your business phone system can be accessed and managed from your smartphone too.
To sum up, the freedom from physical equipment and its associated costs, along with the cutting edge service you get when providers are able to rapidly update their products, means very low TCO.
14 - They're More Scalable
The freedom from physical equipment makes cloud collaboration solutions much more scalable than the alternatives.
Hosted VoIP solutions like Yay.com can be scaled up or down at will. You’re free to add or remove users and virtual phone lines in a couple of clicks.
But that’s not all.
The process of adding virtual lines and users can be performed by anyone in your organisation. There are no costs associated with waiting for a qualified engineer to install a line and paying for their time.
This allows businesses to move far more rapidly as they scale and mitigates unnecessary costs (part of the aforementioned low TCO).
15 & 16 - Cloud Collaboration Platforms Are More Flexible & Integrate With Other Products and Services
Since most web based collaboration tools are SaaS (software as a service) products, they’re inherently more flexible than alternatives.
Your staff can access them from anywhere, from any device, so long as they have an internet connection.
What’s more, SaaS products readily integrate with other modern applications and services. This is a HUGE value-add that you won’t get without migrating to the cloud.
For example, that spreadsheet your finance team has been working on can sync seamlessly with your sales CRM, so new accounts are automatically added to the sheet.
Or, VoIP services like Yay.com can integrate with Microsoft Teams via Direct Routing. This bolts a powerful phone system onto Teams in the backend and improves the cost-effectiveness of outbound calling, making Teams a viable option for sales, recruitment and similar initiatives.
What’s more, the nature of SaaS is often that these services are subscription-based. That means you’re free to upgrade, downgrade or even cancel your plan at any time. That’s even more flexibility for you!
17 - Easy Deployment and Maintenance
Cloud-based alternatives to on-premises systems are cheaper to run and maintain. That’s because little or no specialised training is required for maintenance and little or no equipment is required to run it.
But web based collaboration services are also dead easy to deploy.
Once again, that’s because your staff need little or no training to set up and use these tools and you don’t need to wait for the arrival of physical equipment before you can start using them.
18 - They Make Backing Up A Breeze
Cloud-based systems are easy to back up.
Whether that’s a system configuration for a service you’re using, 10 years’ worth of crucial call recordings you need for compliance reasons, or the last 2000 words of your business’ new whitepaper.
Local-only versions of any of these are easier to lose and harder to automate backups for.
Most web-based collaboration tools automate backups or make them possible with a single click.
19 - Better Security
Software-based systems are the future.
And legacy systems get updates less and less frequently as time goes on.
That leaves legacy systems with holes in their security. These holes can be exploited by bad actors looking for an easy way to mine your data and hurt your bottom line.
Modern solutions, on the other hand, see frequent updates and security patches, making them much harder to penetrate, leaving your data and IP safe.
20 - They Future-proof Your Infrastructure
On-premise and local-only business communications services are dying out as hosted VoIP solutions take over.
This is, in part, thanks to changing infrastructure and regulation.
BT Openreach is in the process of switching off traditional copper lines in a move that has been dubbed the BT ISDN Switch Off. This will leave VoIP-based calling the only option for businesses.
Other services like Google Cloud make upgrading existing technology or adopting new technologies easier too since all your work is backed up.
BONUS: Better Business Results
Data from Statista reports that, as early as 2015, more than a quarter of SMBs said they expected as much as 99% of their IT infrastructure to be cloud-based within 3 years.
There’s a reason businesses are migrating infrastructure to the cloud en masse.
It’s because the ultimate consequence of all of these benefits is this:
Your business will get better results.
Wrapping Up: The Benefits of Cloud Collaboration
Now you’ve seen all these benefits, we’re sure migrating to the cloud seems less daunting.
And with so many reasons to migrate, it pays to take action now.
If you’ve not made the switch yet, there’s no better place to start than with your business’ communication infrastructure.
A quality VoIP provider like Yay.com will walk you through every step of the migration process, meaning zero downtime for your business phone system.
Which part of your business’ infrastructure are you most concerned about migrating to the cloud? Do you already use a hosted VoIP service?
Let us know on Twitter @Yay_Dot_Com.