When we think about the cloud, we think about benefits such as anytime, anywhere access, cost savings from the elimination of servers, and continual updates without human intervention. But there is one benefit that many people don’t think about—computer agnosticism.
Graphic arts businesses have traditionally been Mac-based in production and PC-based in the front office. Macs aren’t universally supported by all software developers, so it’s not unusual for printers to have a fleet of Macs for production and Windows machines for sales, accounting, and other non-production departments.
With cloud software, however, you don’t have to worry about what type of computer you or your staff is working on. Mac, PC, even Linux—it makes no difference since cloud software works through a browser.
This means that you don’t have to buy top-of-the-line computers or high-power standalone workstations. Rather than spending $5,000 on a new Mac for the prepress operator or $750 on a Dell laptop for the sales guy, you can spend $300 each for Google Chromebooks, and your employees will be able to run whatever cloud software they need. Sometimes even a smartphone or tablet will suffice. In some cases, you may not need to spend any money on computers at all. If you have an employee who wants to use their own computer, they can.
Cloud-based software also lets you avoid clunky (and often expensive) applications like LogMeIn, TeamViewer or RemoteLogin that give employees access to your internal network. If you have virtual employees, the cloud is the best way of giving them access and controlling that access.
If you have an employee who wants to work remotely, the cloud’s computer agnosticism makes that process seamless.
Even for on-premises employees, the cloud can streamline employee churn. Say an employee leaves the company and a replacement is hired. Desktops are often configured for specific users, and a lot of time and effort can be spent wiping a former employee’s computer and setting it up for a new hire. Furthermore, if all their applications and documents are in the cloud, all that needs to be done is to close the old employee’s account and open a new one. If you have high employee turnover, cloud migration is of immense help in managing the logistics and ensuring that former employees don’t have access to your system.
The cloud also eliminates fears of corrupted disks, spilled coffee on a computer, viruses and other malware that can delete data or render a computer useless. The same is true when a computer or device fails. In the past, important time and productivity were lost while the computer was being repaired or replaced. Via the cloud, a user can simply move to a different device and continue working with no downtime.
The issue of computer agnosticism in cloud production is one of many simple, yet profound ways that the cloud can save you money. Maybe it’s something we need to talk about more often.
Source: Adapted from Cloud Production: A New Path to Profitability (How to Benefit from Cloud Automation), by Slava Apel and Joseph W. Webb, Ph.D., 2017.