Hot air balloons and clouds

The digital transformation is not possible without cloud computing, that’s a fact. But there’s still companies who are not sure whether they should adapt to the cloud.

According to the „Cloud Monitor 2018“ by Bitkom and KPMG (PDF) 66% of 500 German companies use cloud based software. 21% are planning to use it. This sounds like a convincing majority but whenever I ask my colleagues, they tell me that there’s still quite a few companies amongst their customers who are not yet convinced for one reason or another.

Especially older, more traditional companies have problems adapting to the cloud because they deal with a more complex infrastructure. Switching to the cloud means a higher risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly by cloud evangelists like me.

The 3 biggest challenges for using the cloud

  1. Data security and compliance

Data security has been one of the biggest topics regarding cloud computing and therefore comes with a lot of prejudices. Companies can circumvent most risks with a clear and detailed requirement management process. Not every cloud provider can ensure the right security measures for your company, especially when you handle sensitive data. However, the cloud market is big and there’s many providers that specifically offer solutions for certain industries and needs. If you know your company’s need, you will find the right (and secure) solution.

  1. Implementation and compatibility

An older infrastructure and many on-premise-solutions can make a switch to the cloud harder. Especially, when your data is not yet standardized and centralized, it can be quite the uphill battle. In this case, though, it’s not the cloud itself that is the problem but the fact that data consolidation is a complex.

Most CRM providers work with partners who can help with and support throughout and even after the implementation. Based on their experiences, they can easily cater to individual requirements and help with best practices.

  1. Independence and data authority

Many companies worry that they will be too dependent on the cloud providers when it comes to their data and the services. Most on-premise solutions could run without the provider (although they pose high risks as well without any proper updates but that’s another topic).

A cloud-solution, however, is only as strong as the provider. However, it’s standard to ensure availability and compensation within the contract with different risk management scenarios provided. Additionally, most if not all B2B-providers let companies have full control over their data and ensure full retrieval even after a contract has ended (no matter the reason).

What advantages does the cloud bring with it?

In the last couple of years, most major CRM providers have made the step towards cloud-based solutions (some out of their own will, some because of market demands). Switching from on-premise to the cloud doesn’t need to be immediate or universal for the whole company. Even single applications can be switched to ensure more flexibility and better opportunities. In fact, hybrid models are the reality for most companies who combine on-premise with cloud-based software.

  1. Automatic updates

One of the biggest security risks of on-premise solutions is a skipped update. Since these are especially comprehensive for bigger systems and can interrupt daily business, it’s not uncommon that companies postpone them which can cause major functionality and especially security issues.

Cloud-updates can be implemented automatically and immediately, especially, when there’s a need to fix bugs or patch security gaps. Even though there’s still bigger update cycles for a kind of „spring cleaning“ of the system, most providers also enable quick fixes for problems that can’t wait. These updates can be managed, so that they happen during the weekend or at night, so they don’t interrupt business hours.

  1. Functionality modules

One of my personal favorite advantages of cloud-based solutions is the flexibility of different applications and functionalities. Traditional software packets are usually big mystery containers of numerous functionalities that not only bloat the budget but also hardly ever get fully used by employees.

Cloud solutions, on the other hand, are much more flexible. Quite often, additional functionalities can be added individually or extended to more users. In best case scenarios, these applications can be cancelled monthly or even immediately, so companies are much more flexible to try them out.

  1. Mobility

Mobile CRM is the future, especially for sales and service who are on the go and need customer information. Consulting at the customer’s place is more individual, better prepared. Updates to the overall project, hurdles or problems can be added to the customer’s data in real-time. Especially CRM-apps that make it easier to work with the system via Smartphone or Tablet can be used during customer interactions and help enrich customer information and progress updates.

  1. Synchronization and central data management

Speaking of mobile: central data management and synchronization are big advantages that come with cloud-based CRM. Especially companies with more than one office and many employees that are on the go, can profit from real-time updates on customer’s data from one central data source. If a sales employee interviews a customer on requirements for a software, they can immediately fill in the information and a colleague (or the system) can pick fitting offers. If all of this happens in real-time, the sales employee can present these offers during the interview or immediately after as a follow-up.

This is also a helpful way to eliminate unnecessary documents and numerous versions that usually come with email-attachments or printed out documents. If everyone can work with one central data set or on one central document, then updates, changes and responsibilities are always transparent.

  1. Support and maintenance

Cloud-providers are usually wholly or partially responsible for the maintenance of their systems and offer different levels of support, starting with phone and email-support, up to individual chat, training sessions and even 24/7-service. Usually, this relieves internal IT units who are fully responsible with any on-premise solution.

(6.) Price

Cloud-based solutions are always hailed as cheap in contrast to on-premise solutions. And it’s true that the cloud can be cheaper, especially when you include IT-support and maintenance of on-premise solutions. Another pricey disadvantage of on-premise solutions is the usual All-inclusive-package that companies have to buy with many features that the company doesn’t need but has to pay nevertheless (see point 2.).

But despite all this, quality and security have a price. Cheap cloud alternatives are not always the best or the safest for your company. The price alone therefore should never be the number One deciding factor of a cloud-based solution. Instead, focus where and how the solution can help to optimize processes within your company. With a well-prepared requirements catalog, you can then find the best solution for a good price.

Our experts gladly help you with finding the right solution for cloud-based CRM and with the planning, implementation and support.

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