This is the second in a series of blog posts on sales challenges and customer engagement. This installment explores some of the common myths of cloud deployment and the benefits it provides to your sales organization. Check out the first installment that describes how a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system allows your sales organization to create tangible value and realize significant return on investment.
Cloud computing is no longer just gaining traction, it is evolving more rapidly than ever, and is pervasive for many types of applications (think CRM, Big Data, file storage, etc.). However, the full business potential of cloud deployments is yet to be realized by most organizations. Many still consider cloud to be an IT solution. Certainly there are numerous IT benefits attributable to cloud: no capital investment, quick deployments, reduced maintenance costs/time, scalability, innovation, freeing up IT staff, etc. In this blog we will explore some of the business benefits of cloud deployment of your sales CRM. We will also discuss the most common myths of cloud deployments.
Benefits of Cloud Deployment
Many organizations are just beginning their journey into the cloud and need to identify the right mix of business benefits and cost to justify this new investment. The most prevalent advantages of deploying CRM capabilities in the cloud include:
- Complete data consistency – integration with your existing ERP backend ensures that all customer information is consistent across on-premise, cloud and mobile applications. ERP integration also allows salespeople to access customer-specific pricing in leads, opportunities, quotes and sales orders.
- Easy engagement of tech-savvy customers – simply automating sales tasks is not enough in a complex selling world. Today’s buyers have much higher expectations of their vendors and demand that vendors engage them on their terms. A cloud deployment gives salespeople the tools and agility to find answers and engage in meaningful customer dialogue, greatly simplifying the transformation to a digital enterprise.
- Ability to leverage innovations in the cloud – line-of-business executives are embracing the cloud and increasing their participation in IT decision making. Their desire is to drive new business transformation rapidly, with innovation that is being deployed in the cloud. A cloud deployment allows them to leverage the latest innovations without additional investment or IT resources.
- Access to real-time analytics – cloud deployment offers the ability for contextual, real-time customer information, including opportunity pipeline, embedded reports and dashboards to track wins, losses, activities and revenue trends. These are available on demand, from web browsers and mobile devices.
- Mobile access anytime, anywhere – sales teams can access the up-to-the-minute sales data and functionality they need to be most effective and productive. Data can also be stored locally for offline use and synchronized later via an Internet connection. Sales reps can update accounts in real-time, review analytics and collaborate with the extended sales team from their mobile device.
Common Myths of Cloud Deployment
The speed with which cloud computing has evolved has created much confusion in the marketplace. It is essential that both line-of-business (LoB) and IT leaders make well-informed decisions when approaching this important topic. Cloud deployment brings certain risks that must be considered to ensure that mission critical enterprise data is not compromised and that critical business processes are not impacted. Here we will explore some of the common myths around cloud deployment.
- Myth: Cloud computing is not secure.
The security requirements of leading cloud providers are extremely robust and adhere to international security standards such as BS25999 (high availability), ISO 27001 (IT operations), SSAE (international accounting regulations) and PCI (payment card industry). For example, SAP has built in many security controls and practices in its SaaS offerings, including Cloud for Sales CRM. These controls are continually reviewed and improved. Customers can rest assured that the confidentiality and integrity of their data is protected.
- Myth: The cloud is not adaptable.
There are many delivery options available, including public and private cloud, as well as easy configuration and advanced development platforms. For organizations that need to design and develop unique capabilities, there are solutions which enable customers to adapt and enhance their capabilities. Customers can create and integrate new business content, services, and user interfaces as required by the business, while preserving the same look and feel as the standard cloud solution.
- Myth: Customers must choose the cloud or on-premise.
There is complete flexibility regarding deployment of cloud solutions in hybrid models with on-premise. For example, SAP does not require that customers choose one or the other model of deployment, but provides options to accommodate the model that works for the business. For example, while Cloud for Sales integrates well with SAP ERP for accounts, contacts, products, pricing, etc. it is not required day one if the customer chooses to run in the cloud stand-alone.
The decision to deploy in the cloud is no longer an IT decision, it impacts all areas of business today and will continue at an increasing pace. Choose a cloud provider who delivers a secure, world class, robust cloud landscape, which allows customers to deploy at their pace. Keep in mind that Cloud transformation is a journey, not a destination, and should be a continuous process.
Still have questions? Think you are ready to take the next step? Check out this Digital Transformation Readiness Guide for Sales Executives to learn more.
Also, check back soon for the next blog in this series: Engage Customers on Their Terms.