Picture this, asks Dave Porteous Chief Product Officer Voyager Internet Ltd.
Fred runs a successful furniture design operation. His products are stylish and he’s created a niche in the market with growing exports to Asia.
As Fred drives to work this morning; he plans his day – top priority will be processing a large order destined for a corporate client in Singapore. Fred rounds the corner to disaster. Smoke is billowing out of his premises! Fred’s world just fell apart.
Be it fire, flood, police emergencies or even ‘flu epidemics – business interruption is a fact.
In 2011 New Zealand was given a stark reminder of this. As we continue the rebuild of Christchurch; we must remember that robust infrastructure does not just mean gas mains, water lines, sewage and roading. Increasingly our ICT infrastructure must be considered as we reconstruct buildings and businesses.
The backbone of New Zealand’s economy is the small business; which cannot afford the support of large multi-national IT outsourcers. Likewise they cannot afford investment in server rooms, on site phone systems and enterprise software solutions.
In the situation above, Fred faces the potential collapse of his business. Losing his office with its paper records and two desktop computers that stored accounts, sales orders and client information leaves Fred unable to fulfil his largest export order to date.
His reputation is now damaged and his warehouse full of goods with no customer buy them.
Cloud. Everyone talks about cloud, but what does it mean? Cloud is just an architecture which enables new and dynamic ICT services to be delivered more cheaply and better than before.
That’s the key – ‘more”. More capability. More flexibility. More robust. The “More” in cloud puts corporate style systems in the hands of the thousands of small businesses that make New Zealand work.
With a voice system that can be used from anywhere with an internet connection; you can keep in touch with your customers. Hosted email solutions ensure those melted lumps of plastic and metal don’t stop your business from receiving orders (or placing them).
Customer records stored in remote and duplicated data centres on virtual servers mean you can recover their details and maintain your relationships - even if all the paper in your office is now a sodden, blackened mess.
Now consider if Fred’s business had been using cloud based systems. After Fred recovers from the shock of seeing his shop go up in flames - he turns to recovery.
His team of five arrives at work to see the fire brigade packing up their gear. They head to a local café to regroup. Soft clients on laptops allow stakeholder contact within the hour.
Order details stored in their hosted systems mean the warehouse across town can receive instructions to dispatch the Singaporean order.
Fred can email his contacts to let them know that their order is on its way and his business operations are robust. He can call his insurance broker to start the claims process.
And he can seek temporary premises; secure in the knowledge that his business will continue to run using systems that are immune to fire and other disasters.
The advent of hosted ICT solutions enables small companies to compete in a global market. Large business functionality is now available to small business.
In a nation subject to earthquakes, tsunami, floods and cyclones the ability for small business to recover rapidly is essential for NZ and our economic growth. Just ask Fred.
By Dave Porteous Chief Product Officer Voyager Internet Ltd