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Your office isn’t like everybody else’s office. You don’t spend all day at a desk. You’re at the jobsite, which could be just about anywhere. 

You need to access your data from wherever your job takes you. And you need to do more than just send email. You need access to all your critical business apps to ensure positive cash flow, keep track of vendor payments and make sure you’re doing profitable work. 

Those capabilities aren’t luxuries. They’re what you need to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently; you need them wherever you are, not just back in your home office.

It’s time to look to the cloud. The cloud gives you access to your most critical business and accounting applications, accessible from anywhere at any time. And it provides the security you need to keep your data safe. 

Maybe you haven’t heard of the cloud or you don’t know what it can offer your business. You’re not alone. The cloud is really just the internet, and it’s useful for a lot more than just storing photos or music. It can revolutionize your construction business. 

This guide has everything owners and employees of construction firms would want to know prior to making a final decision on whether it’s the right solution for them.

Normally, you’d find a glossary at the end of a book. However, it’s important to have an understanding of a few key terms and definitions related to cloud technology before reading about why you could benefit from it.

Data

Information that is collected for analysis.

QuickBooks Desktop contains customer details, calendar appointments, inventory summaries and more –these are all data points.

Hardware

Tools, machinery, wiring and other physical components of an electronic system.

Your Setup

It’s likely that at your home office, you don’t just have a single piece of hardware—you have a “workstation.”

Workstation

A desktop computer with hardware enhancements. Multiple monitors, receipt scanners and docking stations are all considered types of hardware that enhance the capabilities of a personal computer, or PC .

There are thousands of sub-categories within the term hardware; for now, let’s focus on PCs.

Software

A set of instructions that tells your computer what to do. Software does not always need user interaction to run its “set of instructions.”

Example:

  • QuickBooks Desktop
  • AccuLynx
  • Buildertrend
  • BuildTools
Application (App)

A program designed for a specific task or set of tasks. All applications are software; not all software can be an application. Applications always need user interaction in order to get the task done.

Examples:

  • T-Sheets
  • Method CRM
  • Google Duo
  • Google Chrome
CLOUD MIGRATION

The process of selecting, preparing, extracting and transferring software and data from one local desktop or storage system to the cloud.

Software vs. Applications—Is there a difference?

Yes—and no.

Software will continue to run on your behalf, even if you exit the program.

Think of Outlook: Your email account will continue to run on your behalf, even while you’re away from it. Your account will continue to receive emails, send auto-responses if you’re on vacation and can even determine how an email should be categorized.

The What

What is the cloud, exactly?

Simply stated, the “cloud” is a metaphor for computers on the internet. And, like the internet:

  • The cloud is a place where people go to find information.
  • The cloud is accessible from any internet-connected device.

When you hear “cloud,” think of the internet. No matter where you are, if the device that you’re using can connect to the internet, you can connect to the cloud.

What You Hear vs. What They’re Really Saying

When someone says:

“My QuickBooks Desktop is in the cloud.” What they’re really saying is: “I can open the full-featured desktop version of QuickBooks from any laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet.”

The Why

Why would I want to access my software in the cloud?

When you move your software to the cloud, it immediately gains features that make it easier, safer and faster to use. If your PC crashes, is stolen or simply won’t turn on, you can pick up where you last left off on your next PC. The data housed in the cloud is stored in multiple secure locations around the country—meaning it’ll be ready to work when you are. You won’t have to learn the online or smartphone versions of the software. It doesn’t matter if you access the cloud from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or workstation—the software will look and work the same as the desktop version you’re used to.

You no longer have to think about hackers getting at your client’s data—it’s safest in the cloud. Putting software in the cloud means getting an enterprise-level security team whose responsibilities include making sure the cloud stays accessible to those who need it—and inaccessible to those who don’t—24/7/365.

You can collaborate with teammates, vendors and clients directly in-software and at the same time. Rather than send email attachments, or physically receive files, you can grant cloud access and limit permissions to those responsible for providing information.

You will no longer spend valuable time watching your software and applications update. Software that is hosted in the cloud automatically updates to the latest available version.

And lastly, the cloud is (very) fast. Every type of computer has a limited amount of space on it. After a lot of software installations and file saving, it will start slowing down. If a business has the resources, it may solve this problem by storing data in-house on a server, external hard drive or USB. Without proper security measures, however, USBs, external hard drives and in-house servers are all high-risk solutions. And in terms of ease of accessibility, why would you want to keep track of multiple storage devices?

By moving your software off your computer and into the cloud, you automatically gain space to save, store and run. Your computer’s performance will be faster, you’ll be able to store everything you need in one place and, ultimately,  you’ll get your job done quicker.

The How

How do I get started in the cloud?

When assessing the cloud as a potential solution, many wonder:
  • After I complete my purchase, when can I begin working in the cloud?
  • How long will it take to get my applications and data into the cloud?
  • I have a large amount of information that I want stored in the cloud; do I have to pay an additional fee to get my data moved?

When a business is ready to get started, its experience will entirely depend on the software, users and data it needs in its customized cloud. Moving to the cloud, which is commonly referred to as “cloud migration,” is how your business will gain access to Right Networks, a cloud solutions firm.

Case Studies

East End Construction

Package: QuickBooks Desktop Cloud
QuickBooks Desktop Users: 3
Additional Software or Apps: 0
Total Company File Size: 1 GB
# of Company Files: 1
Total Available Storage: 15 GB

  1. Setup Details & Planning - 30 Minutes
    • Finalize users and software to-be-migrated and pick a time to migrate that works best for East End Construction.
  2. Cloud Migration - 30–60 Minutes Per Company File1
    • Create backup of QuickBooks Desktop files and vertical-specific customizations.
    • Upload the backup to the cloud.
  3. User Setup - 15–20 Minutes Per User
    • User 1 chose to receive an email invitation to get started.
    • Users 2 and 3 chose to receive individual, customized walkthroughs for no extra charge.

Stratford Construction

Package: Application Cloud
QuickBooks Desktop Users: 24
Additional Software or Apps: Corecon, MSI Service Pro, Foundation Software
Total Company File Size: 3 GB
# of Company Files: 2
Total Available Storage: 1.2 TB

  1. Setup Details & Planning - 30 Minutes
    • Finalize users and software to-be-migrated first, then pick a time to migrate the rest of the users and software that will not disrupt Stratford Construction’s workday.
  2. Connect with Support Team and Migrate -  30–60 Minutes Per Company File1
    • Create backup of QuickBooks Desktop files and vertical-specific customizations.
    • Upload the backup to the cloud.
  3. 30-Minute Group Tutorial + 15–20 Minutes Per User
    • Most employees chose to get a group walk-through of how to access their new accounts and saw how easy it was to access their applications from within Application Cloud.
    • A few other employees didn’t need much assistance with setup, so they opted to receive email invitations instead.

The Conclusion

Now that you understand what the cloud is, why the technology benefits businesses of all sizes and how Right Networks makes it simple to get started—what other questions can we answer for you?
Ask us at RightNetworks.com or call one of our Cloud Specialists at (888) 210-0237 today.

Download the Whitepaper

1Dependent on the internet speed of the customer being migrated.

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