Fear not: even better than the real thing, Santa 'Cloud' comes bearing a sackful of gifts to bring cheer to your organisation this Christmas.

Whether you are moving to a cloud infrastructure, using cloud-based software or storing files in the cloud, many are using some aspects of this handy technology. With around 93% of businesses currently using the cloud in some form and worldwide public cloud services revenues expected to grow 18.5% in 2017 to $260bn, up from $219.6bn last year, according to Gartner, there’s a reason that many organisations are turning to the cloud.

Additionally, with the UK government setting out an aim to cut costs in the manufacturing industry by a third, and project times in half by 2025 – there’s a push to embrace new initiatives and technologies. Cloud-based technologies provide a great avenue to achieving these goals, especially at peak periods.

Let’s look at five benefits that cloud-based technology brings to manufacturers at peak times like the Christmas period.

Collaboration made easier

Cloud technology encourages collaboration, making it easy for employees around the globe to connect, communicate and share information for better team working. It’s simple to store, view and edit information in one central location, and documents are updated in real time. Everyone’s kept in the loop and colleagues can ‘meet’ virtually, no matter where they are in the world.

Research shows that unleashing business builders from burdensome admin could unlock over $600bn in lost productivity and save businesses an average of 120 working days per year on administration alone.

Particularly with projects, manufacturers tends to require a somewhat endless exchange of data, whether it be from engineers or site supervisors – significant amounts of sensitive information are communicated. Cloud-based technology enables seamless sharing of information here, making it easier for various teams and team members to work together.

Better collaboration brings a heap of gifts to the table, including boosted productivity and engaged, enthused employees.

Happy employees, happy customers

It’s not always easy to keep employees focused and productive around Christmas, which can be one of the busiest time of the year for manufacturers. This upturn in business, combined with the plague of winter colds, the struggle with weather disruptions or that unshakeable need to see the little ones starring in the school play, means it can be a challenge to keep on top of the work.

Cloud-based technology makes it easy for employees to work flexibly, with people able to log on, access, share and edit information from anywhere – and even on the go. With most cloud services offering mobile apps, it’s simple to work from any device, so everyone can keep up to date, including sales staff, remote workers and those needing a bit more flexibility at this time of the year.

Flexible working helps employees to enjoy a better work-life balance, without impacting negatively on productivity – especially during the holiday season.

Better productivity and flexibility

The manufacturing industry works around peak times and often has different staffing demands, lending itself well to benefit from the flexibility that the cloud offers. It’s easy to scale cloud services up or down, depending on need. This means you can temporarily increase capacity to handle busy periods like Christmas – without having to shell out for hardware or software that wouldn’t be used at quieter times.

Not only that, with cloud-based software all the latest updates are immediately available to users. Getting instant upgrades gives employees new features and functions sooner, making them more productive.

Improved security and reliability

At busy times, the last thing a business needs is for technology to fail them. Downtime can lead to all kinds of problems, including reduced productivity, lost revenue and reputational issues. A reputable cloud provider will maintain reliable, secure services, giving you peace of mind that all data is secure, safe and recoverable, no matter what happens. It’s easily accessible from anywhere and any device. And if something does go wrong, a cloud host should resolve issues quickly, getting you back up and running in plenty of time for a festive sherry at the work Christmas party.

Cloud can also solve the chaos of documents and data being stored in different formats and on personal drives and devices. This causes mass confusion, security issues and plenty of stress. Storing data and documents in one place on the cloud means everyone’s accessing the same, up-to-date, authorised information, leading to less human error and a clear record of any updates.

A boost to the bottom line

All of these benefits can lead to fewer stresses at peak times like Christmas – and, more importantly, will also give business a lift. Manufacturers will be more agile as capacity can be flexed up or down to meet demand, and you can take advantage of peaks in the market without significant costs. With streamlined processes and more engaged, productive employees able to connect and collaborate from around the world, you’ll gain a real competitive advantage, just in time for Christmas.