In today’s Age of the Customer, businesses need to be agile, to keep pace and grow at scale. That’s why so many have turned to the cloud. Unfortunately, the world has gotten a little too cloudy, I must say, given the many different applications available for each individual business need.
This is causing complications not unlike those we experienced in the days of on-premises software. The problem is that cloud implementations are often left in the hands of department leads without the development, first, of a comprehensive cloud strategy across the entire business.
When this happens, organizations end up with a cluster of different applications that don’t actually work together. And the end result is a monster that I call “FrankenCloud.”
This disjointed cloud strategy can deeply impact employee productivity, an executive’s ability to make strategic business decisions, the customer experience and, ultimately, your company’s bottom line. Scared yet? You should be! Three issues, described below, can result when you build your business on a FrankenCloud.
They are the reasons why a one-platform approach is the key to business success and long-term growth with the cloud.
1. Employees are less productive.
Not surprisingly, employee productivity hinges largely on technology. When companies use disparate cloud applications internally, employees are forced to wrestle with multiple logins, different user interfaces and varied reporting tools, all of which slow business down instead of speeding it up.
Information isn’t easily accessible across teams, so team members end up having to spend extra time gathering the data they need to do their jobs; and given how quickly things can change in business today, this leaves the door wide open for error. Fortunately, companies can avoid this problem by selecting applications built on one cloud platform. This one-cloud platform will then be capable of supporting the entire business, from sales to finance to HR, with a consistent user interface, database and set of reporting tools, and accessibility across any device.
This strategy also enables employees to be more focused and efficient.
2. Executives forfeit visibility into the organization
In the world of FrankenCloud there are cloud silos that prevent executives from getting a comprehensive view of performance across their entire organization, thus encumbering their ability to make strategic business decisions.
Business leaders need full front-to-back office visibility at all times in order to drive substantial growth. The only way to achieve such visibility is by ensuring that all applications within the organization can communicate with one another and provide updates in real-time -- again, possible only with one platform.
By breaking down these cloud silos (or hopefully, preventing them altogether!), executives will be able to review important business information in real time, including key performance indicators that cut across departmental boundaries and applications, like service calls, sales, revenue and expenses.
3. Business falls short of customer expectations.
Customers today are more connected and informed than in years past. They also have a very powerful voice, thanks to social media, that they can quickly amplify in the face of customer service disputes, making significant even the most trivial of complications. Because of this, every customer interaction counts.
Companies need to ensure that their employees have a holistic view of the customer, including every interaction from an inquiry or a sale, to a service delivery, request for support or billing dispute. When departments share information with other applications and work around the same view of the customer, employees will become better aligned at every touch point along the customer journey, keeping customers happy. With one platform serving as the technology backbone, companies can raise the bar for customer service and improve ROI.
Without a doubt, the cloud yields tremendous benefits, but it is the platform that will serve as the foundation for success. For any entrepreneur, whether you’re building a company from the ground up or looking for new ways to improve your current business, developing a strong cloud strategy should be at the top of your to-do list. It sets the tone for how the entire organization will work together to achieve long-term growth.
Customers today may be smarter, faster and stronger than they were in the past. As an entrepreneur without FrankenCloud around to hold you back, you will be, too.