Moving business applications to the cloud: a case study

Lastly, hosted services will soon be an expectation from clients and customers, they will want to contact you via hangouts and share documents on Google Docs, so if you're not ready you could get left behind and lose clients and customers to competitors who are more ahead of the game.

Also a new generation of staff may expect to use these services, especially if that's what they've grown up with and used, so you could lose out on fresh new skills.

TRP: Are there any pitfalls to watch out for when making the move from desktop applications to their hosted counterparts?

ED: Google Docs is not as feature rich as Microsoft Office so if your company is heavily dependant on spreadsheets for example, the move may not be a good decision yet. However they are improving weekly so in a couple of years they should be up to scratch.

The sharing feature is great but you need to be aware of what you're sharing and with whom. It's very easy to share a private document as public and accidentally send it to someone with a similar name as your colleague, so a lack of knowledge can cause privacy issues.

The Hangouts feature is great for a quick chat but they can become an internal distraction, and as more and more clients move over, the constant requests via Hangouts will increase.

TRP: How do you see your business developing its use of hosted business services?

ED: The collaboration with clients will be the biggest development for us. The ease of communication and sharing documents will increase productivity and communication will be so much better.

The video conferencing will also save time and money with less travelling to meetings. We are also using lots more hosted services like Prezi instead of PowerPoint for our presentations, which has proved to be a huge advantage for us.