Let me come out and say it, the days of installed software are numbered. If you’re planning on buying anything on CD and installing it on your Mac or PC, just wait. The chances are there’s a better, cheaper, more sophisticated cloud alternative. With services like Zapier and If This Then That to link them together, single sign on from Google or whoever and digital dashboards like GeckoBoard, you can create a customised, integrated workplace for your employees that goes far beyond anything you can do with installed software.
Right now at Turbine, we use
- Google Apps for email and, increasingly, spreadsheets and documents.
- Google Hangouts for video conferencing with the development team.
- Basecamp for project management and collaboration, especially on the marketing side.
- Our own app, Mojicamp, for task management.
- A bespoke bug and story tracker tool for managing software development.
- We’re currently looking again at CRM systems with Salesforce as the front runner.
- Turbine, of course, for purchasing, expenses, HR and time off record-keeping.
- Geckoboard to give a one-glance dashboard of all our key metrics
- Mailchimp for email marketing.
- We’re also looking at switching to Xero for our accounts; we already use Freshbooks for annual billing and PayPal as our credit card services provider.
- WPEngine hosts our WordPress marketing site.
- Dropbox for file sharing between team members.
- Google Analytics, of course, for traffic analysis. We’re also looking at Kissmetrics and HubSpot for some more marketing automation.
I spend more than half my day in a browser and by the end of the year, I reckon we’ll have moved all the remaining applications and activities from installed applications to the cloud.
The upsides of cloud are compelling
For me the cloud means:
- Easy in, easy out; we’re not committed. If something better comes along, we can switch and cancel. At the same time, all our providers are constantly innovating and adding new features.
- Costs that scale with use, which is ideal for a growing company.
- Access to great technology. Although we’re a relatively small company, going cloud means we have access to some amazing tools that let us do things that were only available to big companies even five years ago.
- Cloud computing totally supports our no-office, flexible way of working. No factory bell for us.
- It’s one less thing to worry about. I have more confidence in Google’s ability to run a secure, well-backed up, resilient data centre than my own. I’d rather let our providers do the techie stuff while I concentrate on building a great business.
- No IT department. While I’m a bit geeky and enjoy trying out new stuff, all the tools we use are accessible for non-techies. As long as our staff have a browser, they can do their work. This takes a lot of pressure off the company to provide locked down, expensive hardware and support it.
On a scale of one to ten, how cloud-ready are you?