SMEs get a turbo charge from cloud technologies

I was invited a few weeks ago to attend the V8 Supercars in Launceston. In the 12 years I have now worked at RedBalloon I have seen many a car (and been inside many a V8) as they raced around the circuit, and given the event was in Tasmania – where my close colleague Lauren is from – I thought she would have an interest in attending.

I was unaware she was such a revhead!

As a guest of Microsoft Office 365, she saw how cloud-based technology has transformed the V8 business into a well-oiled machine (pardon the pun).

She sent me these musings directly from the V8 Supercar “office”, which just happened to be in the middle of a paddock cleverly disguised as a race track:

The notion of an “office” has been turned on its head thanks to cloud-based products. They’re changing the nature of work environments like never before.

Our Microsoft host, Isabel, introduced herself as a “full-time mum of two, full-time wife, full-time daughter, full-time sister and full-time employee.

“We’re all a full-time lot of things – all the time, everywhere, anytime. And we’re also expected to be productive everywhere, anytime.”

That sentiment really resonated, as I know myself and many of my colleagues are in this position. With so much on their plates, employees want – and need – the flexibility to do their job in a way that best suits them. Our “outside” lives don’t end when we step “inside” the office.

But delivering this holy grail of flexibility has been a tall order for many SMEs for a long time. The cost that often accompanies providing such tools has, until very recently, been hugely limiting.

V8 Supercars director of finance Peter Trimble said his company had no choice but to look at a technological solution for their slumping employee morale – they were “doing their people’s heads in” with outdated technology.

“Our people were working inefficiently and often until 10 or 11 at night just to get their job done. We were wearing our people out…and it was costing us a lot of money to run a broken system. There’s no room for forgiveness in our work – the race will start no matter what.”

While that’s true in a literal sense for V8 races, it also applies equally to every business.

RedBalloon has been a recognised top employer for years, with a steadfast commitment to providing flexibility and the right tools for our people. As part of this we recently transitioned onto “the cloud”, where simple yet fundamental features like accessing email, calendars and files, and staying connected when working remotely, are possible. Surprisingly though, we have also seen a reduction in costs.

For the first time, small businesses are able to provide tools for their people that have been for so long available only to the wealthy few. These products are levelling the playing field.


Resident RedBalloon revhead Lauren soaks up the V8 atmosphere

How are you using technology to drive productivity and engagement in your business? Is outdated or costly technology a stopping point for your growth?

I’d love to hear your stories.

One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi Simson has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.



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