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Tip for PHL start-ups: Look to the cloud

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THE global Covid-19 pan­demic has preyed on the el­derly and peo­ple with non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as can­cer, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, di­a­betes and res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease claim­ing the lives of more than a mil­lion peo­ple. But the deaths aren’t just lim­ited to peo­ple as the eco­nomic reper­cus­sions of the ex­tended lock­downs have also led to the demise of count­less busi­nesses.

And while we all look for­ward to pos­i­tive news about a pos­si­ble vac­cine in the com­ing months, busi­nesses do not have the lux­ury of wait­ing for a cure that will al­low peo­ple to live their nor­mal lives.

But there is no go­ing back for busi­ness, and the chal­lenge will be to adapt and be ready for the next nor­mal. The sit­u­a­tion is even more cru­cial for start-ups who must face the chal­lenge of op­ti­miz­ing op­er­a­tional costs with lim­ited cap­i­tal run­way.

At a re­cent brief­ing on cost op­ti­miza­tion for start-ups, ex­perts pointed to the cloud as one of the so­lu­tions as the world makes a con­certed thrust to­wards a more dig­i­tal way of life.

Dig­bi­joy Shukla, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Lead in Startup Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment for Ama­zon Web Ser­vices (AWS), said the three big­gest bud­get com­po­nents for start-ups are: (1) peo­ple (2) cloud and IT and (3) mar­ket­ing. While there are also bud­getary con­sid­er­a­tions for big­ger con­glom­er­ates fac­ing the pan­demic, start-ups are dif­fer­ent in that they do not have the same amount of re­sources to work with. For a start-up that’s not yet prof­itable, ev­ery peso counts, and it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to op­ti­mize costs and man­age cap­i­tal far more ef­fi­ciently.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers (PWC), 48 per­cent of start-up own­ers feel threat­ened by the im­pact of Covid-19 on their busi­nesses de­spite mea­sures that have been put in place. The top-cited con­cerns for start-ups in­cluded: Fi­nan­cial Im­pact (62 per­cent), Po­ten­tial Global

Re­ces­sion (56 per­cent), Fund­ing Dif­fi­cul­ties (49 per­cent), and De­cline in De­mand (40 per­cent).

Shukla, who was a founder of a start-up him­self be­fore join­ing AWS, said cloud us­age for start-ups has four ben­e­fits that in­clude cost ef­fec­tive­ness, faster it­er­a­tion with low fi­nan­cial im­pact, quicker scal­ing and hy­per­growth sup­port as they can go global in min­utes.

He is one of many within the AWS Startup Team that have ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the startup in­dus­try—en­abling the lead­ing cloud ser­vices provider to in­ti­mately un­der­stand the unique chal­lenges faced by start-ups through­out their jour­ney, from ideation to growth.

AWS tools and so­lu­tions boast un­par­al­leled flex­i­bil­ity and ver­sa­til­ity. For in­stance, Cost Ex­plorer helps start-ups iden­tify un­usual cost events au­to­mat­i­cally while AWS Well Ar­chi­tected Tool (WAR) re­views cur­rent work­loads and com­pares them to best prac­tices, al­low­ing for fur­ther op­ti­miza­tions in the fu­ture. The AWS pric­ing model can also help star­tups save up to 72 per­cent on cloud us­age by sim­ply com­mit­ting to a con­sis­tent amount of us­age (e.g. $10/ hour) over one or three years. Ven­taja, a Philip­pine tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions provider, was able to lower its op­er­a­tional costs by 60 per­cent by run­ning on AWS. Quadx, the in­no­va­tion arm of par­ent com­pany LBC Ex­press, uses AWS Lambda with Ama­zon

API Gate­way and Ama­zon SNS to run server­less ar­chi­tec­ture and au­to­mate test­ing of mi­croser­vices. By adopt­ing server­less tech­nol­ogy on AWS, Quadx has re­duced monthly in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing from $8,000 to $600.

As the pan­demic con­tin­ues, AWS be­lieves that start-ups need low-cost, easy-to-use in­fra­struc­ture that they can use to scale and grow their busi­nesses.

SAVE MONEY BY WORK­ING RE­MOTELY

NOW that a larger num­ber of em­ploy­ees are work­ing re­motely, one com­mon topic of dis­cus­sion is how money-sav­ing this work ar­range­ment can ac­tu­ally be for in­di­vid­u­als. But what about busi­nesses? Do or­ga­ni­za­tions stand to save money by hir­ing re­mote work­ers and switch­ing to vir­tual of­fices as well? The short an­swer is yes and here’s why.

First is you can save on man­power fees. In a vir­tual of­fice set­ting, there is greater flex­i­bil­ity when hir­ing re­mote em­ploy­ees on a full-time, part-time, or per­pro­ject ba­sis. Be­cause of this, em­ploy­ers have the free­dom to hire re­mote work­ers that are a bet­ter fit for the tasks at hand, help­ing to en­sure higher qual­ity re­sults with min­i­mal su­per­vi­sion needed. With ag­ile, flex­i­ble work­ing hours, over­time costs are also re­duced.

It also re­duces over­head ex­penses. A smaller of­fice means lower rental fees. An of­fice that is en­tirely vir­tual elim­i­nates real es­tate costs sig­nif­i­cantly. Ex­penses for util­i­ties, such as elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions are min­i­mized as well. Re­mote work also en­tails lit­tle ex­pense on equip­ment and main­te­nance on the part of a busi­ness owner.

Set­ting up a de­pend­able IT in­fra­struc­ture at work takes a huge chunk out of a com­pany’s bud­get. When work­ing re­motely, costly hard­ware and soft­ware are re­placed with In­ter­net-based of­fice so­lu­tions and cloud-based stor­age.

The right soft­ware for vir­tual team col­lab­o­ra­tion can help busi­ness own­ers sig­nif­i­cantly slash ex­penses. This is where Lark comes in.

Lark is an all-in-one col­lab­o­ra­tive app that is ab­so­lutely free for re­mote teams. Com­pared to other apps, Lark was built from the ground up as a wholis­tic so­lu­tion, not as in­di­vid­ual fea­tures and its fo­cus is on cre­at­ing a seam­less col­lab­o­ra­tion ex­pe­ri­ence on all de­vices so that it can work bet­ter with your team.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is quick and easy with Lark Chat. For vir­tual face-to-face con­ver­sa­tions with a sin­gle em­ployee or the en­tire team, there’s Lark Video Con­fer­enc­ing, which al­lows un­lim­ited video call min­utes for up to 100 par­tic­i­pants. Whether your team is lo­cal or spread out across dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents, sched­ul­ing meet­ings, events, and tasks is a breeze through Lark Cal­en­dar with its smart, multi-time zone fea­ture.

How easy is it for a busi­ness to tran­si­tion to Lark Suite? To get com­pa­nies started, Lark has self-help guides (on­line, com­pletely free) to help in­cor­po­rate it into your ex­ist­ing work sched­ule. They also have con­sul­tants (both busi­ness and tech­ni­cal) that can as­sist users with on­board­ing and/or tran­si­tion.

Among its unique fea­tures in­clude Magic Share where you can edit Docs with mul­ti­ple users, re­al­time com­ment­ing, right from within the Lark video call win­dow. It helps keep ev­ery­one on the same page, and solves the trou­ble of coedit­ing doc­u­ments dur­ing meet­ings. That ver­sion you edit is al­ways up-to-date. Ev­ery­thing you need for work is stored in the cloud on Lark, en­sur­ing 24/7 ac­cess from any­where, us­ing any de­vice. The app uses an AWS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that com­plies with the strictest rules re­gard­ing cloud com­put­ing, so your fo­cus can re­main on com­plet­ing tasks and achiev­ing your goals.

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