Work smart, not hard. Put your online database to work.

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They say only a poor tradesman blames his tools. Well, the same is true for online databases. For many businesses, working in the cloud has not quite met their expectations. But there is good news–there’s a good chance they just aren’t using it properly. Online databases are efficient, intuitive and highly customizable but that doesn’t mean they automatically churn out solid gold. It takes practice, knowledge and understanding to truly maximize their potential. Besides, if a company is relying on a single system for all of its record keeping, reporting and sales information shouldn’t everybody know it inside and out?

Developing an intimate and meaningful relationship with your online database takes time

And with time being so precious and all, many businesses simply gloss over user training, learn on the fly and then spend a bunch of time and money trying to fix inevitable errors. Growing expertise of an online database isn’t all time sucking. Most service providers offer free, ongoing, on-demand support and training to give business and individual users the power to get their online databases and up and running and customized to their specifications.

Step one: Clouds are people too

Not in the literal sense of course, but each online database has been uniquely built to fit the specific needs of a particular business. A good service provider will walk users through a variety of complex solutions and simple applications guiding companies large and small in teasing out their needs. But customizing workflow and information tracking in a meaningful way requires users to be thoughtful and considerate of the purpose and utility of the functions they require. A little time and sensitivity goes a long way toward building a healthy relationship with the cloud.

Step two: People are people too

Change is tough and implementing a new (mandatory) work style is likely to ruffle even the most flexible of feathers. Online databases are designed to be intuitive and easy to use but users need support to learn not only their system’s functionality but also its potential. Tossing employees in the deep end with limited training nearly guarantees an online database will never work as hard as they do. It doesn’t hurt to invest in building a keen staff member (or two) into subject matter experts to support others and share helpful hints and tips.

Step three: Don’t ride a tiny bicycle

No one would ride a tiny bicycle over a long distance without making some adjustment to the seat and handlebar heights.  Like online databases, these things are customizable for a reason. After all, their highly customizable and flexible nature is what makes them so appealing in the first place. Businesses with a good understanding of their system and its capability can create powerful dashboards and performance measures to truly take advantage of their database’s reporting capabilities. Having vital information in real time at the push of a button not only means free time, it means companies can be informed and responsive. But remember, first they have to know what the heck it is they’re looking at.