You’ve heard all the hype surrounding the cloud, and you know moving to a cloud-based platform is on the cards. In this digital age, you can’t risk not being part of it. Your customers expect the benefits that come from using the cloud, and your competitors are getting ahead by using it. Plus, new start-ups are entering your industry and disrupting it, thanks to how flexible and free they can be with it. However, there’s still something holding you back. You know all the top line messaging around the cloud, but how can it actually improve your business on a day-to-day basis? You want to know more than just the marketing spiel: you want to know the exact information.
With the right tools and applications, you can make a huge difference to sales. You can speed up orders, offer personalized recommendations, and ensure that everyone is using the right data. You don’t need to wait for slow data synchronization, nor do you have to put up with using messy, outdated data. With a commerce cloud (former Demandware) solution, you can integrate all of your databases, you can sync your online shop with your back-end solutions, and you can stay up to date on everything that’s going on.
Using integrated platforms means you don’t need to rush between different sources of data. You’ll always know what you have in stock, and what you can offer your customers. This means you can earn more money in less time, while offering your customers an enhanced experience.
Cloud applications give you the chance to communicate more and in a better way with the rest of your company. If you have global offices and remote workers, you might struggle to find the best way of communicating and keeping focus on the same priorities. However, cloud gives you a whole new way to keep up.
You can outsource all of your communication needs to a cloud service provider, and let them deal with the maintenance, the set-up and the control. So, you can sit back and use the service, without needing to dedicate specialist resource to it. Cloud communication, such as Slack and Skype, means you can communicate over the internet, rather than using a phone line. For small businesses and start-ups, this can generate huge cost-savings. Plus, you often get a better quality of audio, so speaking to global offices isn’t made difficult by crackling lines. Click here if you are looking for new small business ideas.
Many cloud communication applications also offer business features like screen-sharing. You can host a conference call with attendees from around the country or around the world, and all be looking at the same screen.
Using cloud applications most notably affects your IT department. Gone are the days of having to dedicate their entire day to maintaining and updating your infrastructure and software. Instead, this is all dealt with by a cloud service provider.
Your IT department can then focus on how to add value to your business. They can trial new software and applications, and see what’s compatible and what could help improve your business. Instead of being stuck doing mindless admin tasks, they’ll be able to explore the world of digital and see how your company can do better, and grow profit.
Plus, it’ll also give your employees a chance to learn new skills – skills that will be infinitely valuable in such a digital-driven society. Likewise, you won’t need to spend your salary budget on hiring expensive IT specialists. Instead, you can look at investing in employees with digital skills, who can work with cloud applications to drive your business.
In HR and finance
Your HR and finance teams will spend the majority of their day doing admin tasks. These tasks add very little value to your business, but they have to be done. So, if you can choose the right cloud applications, you can automate the admin, and free up your teams to work on more important things.
As your business grows, your HR processes become more and more complex, so when you introduce cloud applications, you’ve got an opportunity to make them much simpler and easier to follow. Plus, some applications will promote the use of self-service. Instead of employees needing to go through your HR team to book holiday, submit expenses or fill out appraisal forms, they can go into a portal and do it directly themselves. Not only does this make life easier for your employees, but it also frees up your employees for more important tasks. Cloud applications in HR will make a big change.
In finance, it’s a similar story. Many admin tasks, such as paying bills, managing invoices, and filing accounts can be automated, if the right application is used.
In hiring and attracting talent
One of the biggest ways that using cloud-based applications will influence your business is in hiring. Cloud removes the restrictions around experience and location. The best talent wants to work for the best companies. Companies that aren’t afraid of change, and want to succeed in this digital era. So, if you can show that your company is using the cloud to innovate and invent, then you’re going to attract some of the brightest young minds.
Likewise, because cloud applications allow for remote working, bring your own device (BYOD) strategies, and better communication, you can choose your employees based on their merits, rather than where they live. Yes, it can be better to have someone in the office every day, but we’re now moving to an era where people don’t want to work in an office all week. By creating a culture where remote working is possible, you’ll have a much wider pool of talent to choose from.
In offering new services
Another key way cloud applications can improve your business is by speeding up your go-to-market time. The cloud lets you be more innovative and flexible, so if you have a new service idea, you aren’t held up by slow IT or old data. You can move fast, and get your product or service out there. When you’ve got high demand, you can scale your IT up. When your demand goes down, you can reduce the load. This ability to react to demand will be the differentiator between your business and your competitors.