Cloud computing is computing based on the Internet. It involves using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, instead of using a local server or a personal computer.
Business travel on the other hand is a trip taken by a company employee for the purpose of business. With increasing globalization, companies have operations all over the world. Many businesses therefore rely on business travel to make sales, keep in contact with vendors, market their products or services, and keep up with industry trends. Company leaders and employees frequently travel to meet business partners, attend the meetings and attend client meetings.
Advancements in cloud computing technology have had an impact on business travel, both for companies sending their employees out for business duty and for companies involved in organizing and facilitating the process of travelling.
Below are examples of ways through which companies can leverage cloud computing to maximize on business travel.
1. Access to Company Information
One advantage offered by the cloud is that information stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, as long as the user has a device with access to the Internet. This means that the user does not have to be at a single or specific location so as to access the information. Company employees can therefore work from any location. They can access company files from anywhere. While a standard flash drive is fairly easy to misplace, the cloud ensures that files are always backed up and safe. This is reliable for those who travel often or need to take client meetings off-site.
2. Cloud Phone Systems
A cloud phone system is a phone service that is delivered through the internet. The system can transmit voice, fax, and other data packets over a private IP network or securely over the internet. It utilizes secure data centers to eliminate the need for expensive hardware and cables. A reliable cloud phone system unifies all your business communications in the cloud without having to purchase expensive equipment or costly maintenance contracts.
Companies can therefore leverage on cloud phone systems while travelling. The system will allow the travelling employee to access his or her office telephone from anywhere. It will also enable the employee to project a professional image to clients at all times no matter his or her location. Cloud phone systems allow employees to be flexible, mobile and productive, even when they are out travelling for business.
3. Online Collaboration and Project Management
Collaboration in business is a joint effort of multiple individuals or work groups to accomplish a task or project. It enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose. However, sometimes this may not always be possible due to some employees being different locations on business travel.
Online collaboration uses the Internet as a common meeting and work space. Instead of sitting in a physical conference room, employees can access virtual work environments. They can then save their work in a shared database, and everyone works from the same files and data. This allows employees working in different geographic areas to team up on projects. Cloud computing allows employees to collaborate from an online platform, even when they are in different locations.
There are also online project management tools available in the cloud that ensure all team members are on the same page and are accountable for particular assignments. These tools enable company leaders and employees to track project status and make comments on projects. They can also upload files and track calendars from anywhere. This allows collaboration with colleagues and junior staff, saving the business from spending large sums of money on travel expenses. The cloud has removed many geographic boundaries and enabled dispersed workforces to collaborate effectively and efficiently.
An example of a solution that offers such services is the TDWS Cloud Drive. This solution offers companies storage for documents. Employees can share links and documents amongst each other and with other stakeholders. Documents such as receipts and images taken while on the travel may be uploaded on the TDWS Cloud Drive.
The TDWS Chat Server also provides enterprises with the ability to have their employees stay in touch and collaborate amongst each other. The solution provides a service that enables users to connect over the internet for instant messaging.
4. Reduced Luggage
Information stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere using any device with an Internet connection. With the advent of smartphones which can easily access the Internet, travellers no longer need to carry bulky computers and other electronic devices when they are travelling. They can travel with smartphones that are smaller and more portable, and that allow them to do the same things as the older devices they used to carry and even much more. This allows them to travel lighter and reduces on employee burnout.
Companies facilitating business travel, such as airlines and travel agencies can also leverage the benefits of cloud computing to maximize on business travel. Travel agencies can use cloud computing to streamline their businesses and provide higher quality services to their clients. They can use tools that provide for automatic pre-travel fare auditing. The automated system monitors ticketed reservations daily to ensure the company needing business travel services benefits from the lowest possible fare in accordance with ticketing and travel policy requirements.
Airlines can also use management systems available in the cloud to maximize revenue by calculating the most they can charge each customer for a plane ticket. Using cloud infrastructure, they can utilize systems to assess numerous variables in an individual ticket purchase. These variables can be a customer’s broader travel plans, whether they are likely to book further trips in a journey, how many seats are spare on a particular flight and what rival airlines are charging. These systems will enable management to make decisions within shorter periods of time and thus less inconvenience for travelers and enhanced customer satisfaction.