In the past few years there has been a tremendous amount of hype surrounding the cloud and how it is going to improve business. But, is it going to improve your business?
Every business must have a successful IT strategy if they want to remain competitive, and the cloud, Internet accessible computing resources, is one strategy that should definitely be taken advantage of, especially if your business is sales and customer centric. So, is it time for your business to make the switch to the cloud? Frankly, the answer is yes, but you can be the judge.
Here are 8 signs your business needs a cloud solution:
1. Slow Response to Lead and Customer Inquiries
Does your business suffer from a slow response time to customer support issues? Do you wish you could respond faster to new sales inquiries? Does your quote-to-order process take too long?
Cloud sales tools and customer support portals improve and accelerate your ability to sell, serve, and retain customers. With a Cloud CRM, your business can immediately and automatically notify sales with an alert containing the inquiry that needs to be addressed. Plus, with built-in invoicing, and sales force automation, cloud sales tools can automate the sales process and quickly guide your sales team from inquiry to quote to order to invoice.
Cloud support portals give customers instant access to your support staff. They simply need to enter the customer cloud where they are guided to resolution. Cloud sales and customer support tools provide your leads with immediate results, anywhere, anytime. No more delayed response times.
2. Reliant on your Office Computer
Are you tied to your desk? In today’s modern day business landscape, employees are working from home, constantly traveling, and visiting prospects, customers and partners off premise. If you have difficulties accessing information, or even more so can’t at all access critical business information stored on your office computer while away from your desk; then, it is time to make the switch to a cloud solution.
An all too common example of a major business hiccup due to office reliance is when a field sales rep accepts an order only to find out later that the item is not in stock or sold at a different price. This not only makes the customer feel uncomfortable when the sales rep returns with bad news, but also makes sales reps less confident when making sales in the field.
Cloud solutions allow businesses to have 24/7 access to information from anywhere, anytime, on your laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. All you need is internet access. Start giving your sales people a competitive advantage and allow them to make decisions based on accurate real-time information stored in your business’s cloud. Plus, sales reps can easily place orders, review lead info, and send invoices from anywhere.
3. Out-of-Date Software
Is your business running software more than a few years old? Is your computer bloated with software? Are you unhappy with your current system? If so, you are not alone. Many businesses fears investing in new software while facing a slow user adoption rate. So, instead they continue to make do with the systems they have in place, and this is a major business pitfall.
Remaining complacent in your technological business practices can be the straw that broke the camel’s back. You might not realize you have a problem, but while your competitors adopt new technologies and gain otherwise unknown competitive advantages, your processes become obsolete.
Cloud solutions give your business access instant access to the most up-to-date applications. By leveraging the power of shared resources, cloud applications have greater computing power and integrated data across the company. Cloud applications give your business enhanced, real-time data visibility that can manage large data sets.
4. Lack of Continuity
Does your business suffer from lack of information continuity across company boundaries? Do you have multiple subsidiaries, offices, branches, or companies, that all run on separate sales and accounting software?
It is very common that businesses with multiple offices have difficulty sharing data, reporting and collaborating between locations. Cloud software can easy solve these problems. By connecting multiple locations to a central data hub, or corporate ERP, cloud software can achieve real-time transparency across locations. This allows for accurate reporting, improved financial management, and companywide collaboration, independent of location.
5. Faced with Barriers to Entry
IT can help businesses gain competitive advantages. Many businesses have set goals, yet are faced with technological barriers to entry preventing them from achieving the goals. For example, E-commerce, it is the future of sales – accepting orders online 24/7. However, many businesses are hesitant to enter online sales due to lack of online expertise and the foreseen expenses and difficulty of successful implementation.
Businesses should not avoid growing and advancing due to technology roadblocks. The cloud is an excellent solution to overcome such barriers. You can allow cloud IT experts to build and manage the cloud for you, while you simply reap the benefits without the IT headaches. Cloud computing allows you to focus on your core competencies and level the playing field by utilizing IT innovations that were previously granted only to large enterprises.
A great example of leveling the playing field with cloud solutions is OLK. OLK, the TopManage private cloud for SAP Business One, instantly gives businesses a fully featured Web store, self-service sales portal, and Web CRM, for an affordable price. Without the cloud these tools would simply be unattainable for small businesses.
6. Poor IT Agility
Is your business slow to respond to new IT innovations? Does your business have complex processes and operations that are not well aligned with traditional software? If your business uses traditional out-of-the box software, then you most likely answered yes to one of these questions.
Traditional software makes it difficult to adapt to new business opportunities whereas cloud providers can easily listen to customer feedback and make updates that are experienced by customers immediately. Furthermore, best of breed cloud solutions are user-friendly which greatly enhance user adoption. And since cloud applications can instantly become accessible to the entire company, anywhere, businesses immediately see results.
Software is usually very difficult to customize, which creates many problems for businesses with unique requirements. And this is another reason why to switch to the cloud – customizability. Cloud solutions are designed to be self-managed, and easily customized. Businesses can optimize their cloud solution to match their exact business requirements.
7. Fear of Data Loss
What happens if your computer crashes, or even worse, gets stolen and contains sensitive information? Businesses need to have disaster recovery and security prevention in place. The last thing you want is for sensitive information to get in the hands of the wrong person.
Cloud solutions allow your business to never fear the loss of data on individual computers. Data is always stored in one central, highly secure location, not on your computer. And if you computer does get stolen, you simply change your password from any Internet connection blocking accessing to the cloud.
Is it Time for a Move to the Cloud?
Do you display any of the above signs? If so, don’t remain complacent. Cloud innovations and advancements are fueling business growth and arming companies with competitive advantages previously unknown, and in many cases, still unknown to their competitors.
Now is the time to adopt a cloud solution and join the ranks of the many businesses successfully running cloud applications.
If you are still not sure, take a look at some of these 2012 cloud stats complied by Garnter, the world’s leading technology research firm:
- 3.8 million sales cloud users globally
- Estimated 35% of all CRM implementations today use cloud software, growing to over 50% by 2020
- In 2011, businesses invested more than $5 billion in sales applications
- 50% of CRM sales force automation occurs in the cloud
- Cloud-based sales performance management achieved the highest compound annual growth rate of any CRM category in 2012
Need help on deciding if the cloud is right for your business? Talk to a TopManage cloud solutions expert today, and we can help answer any questions you may have.