Cloud computing, a place with more acronyms than the international space station, but what exactly is it, and where is this cloud they speak of? Great questions.
Cloud software and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has changed the way small businesses navigate the complexities of growth and success. Now more than ever, your ability to simplify, optimise, and transform your business is at your fingertips.
Cloud, made simple
The first thing you should know about cloud computing is it’s accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device. More accurately, it makes your business information accessible anywhere, anytime, on any advice. Your people no longer need to return to the office, or work from a specific computer to do their jobs. The great thing about cloud, is your data is looked after by the cloud provider. All you need is an internet connection, and away you go. Whether that is on your mobile, laptop, tablet or desktop computer the world is your oyster.
What about your servers?
It’s simple, you no longer need them. Really! Cloud computing takes away the need for costly, on premise hardware and expensive upkeep. When you store your files, records, everything relating to your business in the cloud all data storage and software upgrades are included in your subscription fee.
Hold on, my business has marketing, service, and sales - can they all work in the same cloud application?
The answer is yes. You see, cloud computing has opened the door to a world of integrated systems, all working seamlessly together to give your business users a single source of data - a single place for all business needs. It is absolutely possible for all of your departments to be working in different areas of your cloud platform, with all the efficiencies and benefits of sharing the same data view.
“The largest benefit to cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) is its ability to simplify the job of a salesperson by transforming data into customer insights, and making it available anywhere, anytime, on any platform. - (Aaron Zuccolin General Manager, Torq Systems)
But, my business isn’t a typical sales business - do I still need cloud?
Cloud software isn’t limited by a single process or system, but by the way in which you customise your instance of that software. When I talked earlier about the world being your oyster, what I meant was this; there are thousands of systems operating in the cloud, and each one has a different function. Your biggest challenge as a small business owner is deciding which processes to include in “your” cloud to make them more efficient. (Quick tip - there’s a wealth of organisations ready and willing to help you customise your cloud, should you need them - ask your cloud provider for recommendations).
What can I expect from day one?
Cloud computing and CRM will help your people to better manage their day from the get go. They will immediately understand your customers on a more personal level, they will immediately have a better handle on their to do lists, and most importantly they will always remain up to date. Cloud computing is accessible through an internet browser like Safari, Explorer or Chrome. Meaning that anytime you edit, update, add or remove information in the system, it updates instantly everywhere and for everyone (even those whom have now gotten their heads around working on their phone, as I suggested earlier).
Not a single user in your business will ever look at old data, or inaccurate reporting, again. Through the power of the cloud, your business always lives in the now, your employees, prospects and customers are always well informed. And processes that used to give you a headache suddenly happen like clockwork.
Starting to make sense? Now let’s look at where to begin
Here are seven questions to help you get going and ensure you select the best cloud solution for your business -
1. How has your solution helped other small businesses like yours?
2. What is your online service and customer support like?
3. What is your pricing structure?
4. How long will setup take?
5. How do upgrades work?
6. What features are included out of the box, and can they be customised?
7. What are my options if my business outgrows what I’m purchasing today?
What is ‘Cloudspeak’?
Cloudspeak is that new and exciting world where anything is possible and limitation is a thing of the past. You need know very little to get started, only a vision, and a goal to do business better by being more connected with your data and your customers. Your business has already achieved so much, being cloud proficient will simply guide your business to greater heights. A vehicle for success and growth.