Workflow management strategies for entrepreneurs have changed significantly over the past decade. No longer are business builders required to manage staff, resources, business operations and all other aspects of the company from a paper-based environment. Entrepreneurs can avoid the storage space necessary to keep copies of client files, documentation, schedules, inventory, tasks and other information. Now, entrepreneurs can enjoy integrated technology that enables access to timely data anywhere, anytime. This can help ensure managers, staff and partners are connected despite differences in location and time zone. Companies can use cloud computing technology to store information, enable constant communication and connect various devices to internal networks remotely for optimal levels of efficiency and productivity.

While the presence of cloud computing technology has greatly enhanced workflow management efforts, business leaders must do their research before selecting a provider and complementary applications to ensure optimal returns on investment. Entrepreneurs have a wide variety of affordable, scalable cloud computing environments to support business operations and management, underscoring the importance of knowing how to leverage the solutions to meet the growing demands of the company in response to industry and client changes. When adopting cloud computing solutions, just as you would with any new technology, make sure to select options that complement existing workflows while moving between mission-critical applications to avoid costly business disruptions or delays.

What cloud computing best practices suit your company’s needs? Do you know how to get the most value from a cloud computing investment?

1. Assess targeted workflows
Entrepreneurs operating on tight budgets are often in search of technological investments that offer a quick return on investment to boost profitability and accelerate growth to stabilize financials. Due to limited resources and free capital, business builders must prioritize what workflow management should be migrated into the cloud for optimal performance, and what operations can be postponed until revenues increase and a second round of investments can be made.

Entrepreneurs should gather insight from partners and managers of each department to determine the business needs and how much time and money can be saved with cloud computing implementation. Once each department has made its bid for cloud computing technology, entrepreneurs can make a list of operations that should be involved in the technology adoption.

2. Data security strategizing
Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to jump into a cloud-based environment due to lingering security concerns. All business information is stored in the cloud, not in a physical infrastructure, allowing for access to data from any authorized user with an internet connection. Cloud computing technology, therefore, calls for a more sophisticated set of data security tools to eliminate external and internal threats that may lead to information loss, corruption or theft. A financial advisory firm, for example, cannot afford to have confidential client information hacked by unauthorized viewers, as a single incident could end a business before it got off the ground.

Therefore, it is vital for business builders to identify compliance and security requirements before selecting a cloud computing vendor. The integrated technology should not only increase workflow efficiency and communication, but also offer significant security applications that respond to threats and take preventive measures to ward off concerns and keep clients happy. Security applications must be reviewed prior to the migration to the cloud, as data is vulnerable during the initial move.

3. Robust integration and connectivity
Another important aspect of cloud computing technology is how the solutions will enhance existing operations to create minimal disruption of workflow and keep employees functioning at optimal levels. Entrepreneurs should select a solution that will make it easier for staff and partners to work together on projects with enhanced communication capabilities. Cloud computing should offer more than just advanced oversight features, but also seamlessly integrate file-sharing, interactivity and strategizing. This can enable your company to react more quickly to changes in client demands and make decisions that will allow the organization to grow.

Burgeoning companies must be flexible and adapt to industry changes, requiring an advanced communication platform to adjust operations on the fly. The flexible cloud computing solutions should evolve with the business and industry demands, as well as work within the existing framework that the company is built upon.