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Thursday
Jan192012

Four Benefits of an Effective Cloud Strategy

How would you rethink your business in the era of cloud computing?

Most discussions of cloud computing focus on the technical benefits:  scalability, accessibility, redundancy, usage-based billing, and so on.  While valuable, these are behind the scenes benefits that indirectly impact your customers and their perception of your business.  Simply moving your existing applications to the cloud may offer benefits, but it does not change the way customers do business with your company.

The real value of the cloud is the opportunity to rethink how customers interact with your business.

If you provide your customer the appropriate visibility, ability, and access to your business, your cloud services strategy can improve the way they do business.  You deliver more value to your customers by providing your Business as a Service (BaaS).

The result is that your business becomes an integral part of their operations.  Customers incorporate your services into their business processes to help them run their company better and to provide more value to their customers.  You become more than a vendor – you become a vital part of their business.

Visibility

The architecture of the cloud enables expanded opportunities for integration.  This means the information your company generates through the normal course of business can be made available instantly to your customers.

Without visibility, your customer has to call or email you to get the information they need.  Their next step is to wait while you look up the information in your system and get back to them.  With cloud services, you can expose the appropriate information to your customer so they can find what they need when they need it.

Ability

Because your cloud services are integrated with your business software, you can allow your customers to take actions directly.  They can enter orders, track shipments, and get the information they need to provide value to their customers. 

In effect, you can give them benefits of your business that they didn’t have access to before.  Your customers can then offer these benefits to their customers and stand out from their competition.

Access

Cloud services are built for the web.  This means that they are available 24/7 from anywhere.  Your clients are no longer tethered to their desktop.  They want to get information and take action from a web browser, a tablet device, or a smart phone anytime, anywhere.

Vital Partnership 

When you utilize cloud services to provide visibility, ability, and access, you’re really offering the benefits of your business to your customers as a service.  Your customers can use your offering as a part of their business and pass the benefits of your service along to their customers.  This helps your customer differentiate themselves by providing a higher level of service at a lower cost.  In effect, your cloud services become part of their business strategy.

You now become much more than a vendor.  You become a vital partner.  As a vital partner, you give your customers better value.  Because your service is integrated in their operations, you form a stronger relationship with your customer and provide them with benefits that can lead to repeat business and referrals.