What Is "The Cloud"?
The cloud can be thought of as software delivered as a utility. Just as you don't run your own electricity generator, with cloud software you don't run the software on your own hardware. Instead, the software is run on remote servers and delivered to you over the internet.
With cloud-based software, you access applications, data, and files wherever you happen to be. You don't have to be at your desk using your own computer to run the software because it is accessible to any device with internet access.
Document Management Software
In the world of typewriters, there were physical limits to the amount of documentation that an office could produce and file in file cabinets in a given time. But once word processing, spreadsheet, and other office software became available, the amount of documentation produced skyrocketed.
Document management software was designed to manage all this documentation. It helps businesses manage document creation, storage, and retrieval, and can be used to archive documents that have not been used in a set period of time. Document management software uses a central repository for managing the storage of information and for protecting that information from being lost, damaged or compromised.
Onsite Document Management Software
Before the cloud, document management was all done on local servers. This meant buying the hardware and software and being responsible for upgrades and maintenance of the server.
Some companies today still want the total control that onsite document management software provides. However, this option is more expensive and requires at least one IT worker to maintain the document database and keep the system functioning and secure. Backups must be made regularly too, to avoid catastrophic data loss.
Document Management Software in the Cloud
When document management software moves to the cloud, your business can use any device anywhere to access, create, or store documents. The software provider takes care of hardware and software upgrades, as well as backing up data to prevent data loss. Some cloud-based document management solutions include scanners and scanning software so that historic paper-based copy can be scanned and entered into the document management system as well.
Trends in Cloud Applications
A 2011 survey by Cloud.com, Zenoss, and BitNami found that 61% of organizations either already have a cloud strategy or are working on one. Around 20% of organizations have their cloud implementations up and running.
Only 20% of organizations today have no plan for cloud computing. Three industries are expected to generate the most cloud-related job creation between now and 2015, according to a Microsoft-sponsored study by IDC. Those industries are media, banking, and discrete (made-to-order) manufacturing.
Cloud document management systems are particularly appealing to small businesses, who lead the way in adopting cloud applications due to lower costs. Cloud-based solutions are a real boon for small start-ups who want to get their products or services to market as soon as possible, and this has prompted small businesses to lead the way when it comes to using cloud applications.
Benefits of Cloud Document Management Software
Cloud-based document management systems lower barriers to entry into the marketplace for small and medium-sized businesses. They have a democratizing effect and allow small companies to do what much larger organizations can do ... and do it affordably.
Cloud-based solutions improve agility and help companies with limited IT budgets to have the services they need along with speed and security. For small businesses with one or more IT professionals on staff, cloud-based solutions free these professionals from dealing with tedious upgrades and hardware maintenance. Cloud solutions are also easily scalable and prevent the delays that occur when businesses wait for an onsite server to arrive.
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