Early adopters of the cloud were quick to realize that the use of legacy on-premise systems and over reliance on Excel spreadsheets were no longer sufficient to meet modern business challenges. They were cumbersome and difficult to maintain, not to mention costly, and lacked the flexibility and agility that businesses needed. As these early adopters recognized the value of moving to the cloud, they quickly implemented applications that supported their own strategic initiatives, primarily across marketing, sales and HR in those days, without really stopping to consider if or how each application fit into a broader, long-term business strategy.
While these implementations still resulted in several early wins, they eventually created an interdepartmental disconnect that many businesses are still dealing with today. As each new cloud was introduced, the effort required to manage each technology stack grew more tedious, forcing IT to deal with massive integration headaches and security challenges. Employees experienced a loss of productivity because they had to grapple with multiple databases, reporting tools, user interfaces and logins. In addition, decision making was impacted because cloud silos hindered business leaders from getting a comprehensive view of performance across their entire organization. Essentially, businesses created a new version of the same old monster by simply stitching together disparate cloud applications across different platforms.
At my company, we call this monster FrankenCloud, and it’s a huge problem that unfortunately, we’ve seen many of our customers struggle to fix.
Getting It Right
What people need to understand is that the cloud alone does not enable flexibility and agility. These are benefits that can only be realized when companies become more strategic in selecting cloud platforms that are capable of supporting their entire business, from the front to back office, with a set of applications that share the same reporting tools, databases, security models and user interface all under one login, of course, with accessibility across any device. Implementing a one platform strategy eliminates the need for third-party tools that synchronize data between clouds and take up so much of the IT department’s time. Additionally, all important information is stored in one place, saving time, eliminating the potential for costly errors, and enabling business leaders to get a bird’s-eye view of organizational performance for more strategic decision making.
The monstrous internal disaster created by FrankenCloud can also have a profoundly negative impact on the customer experience. We are in a time when customers are calling the shots. They are smarter, more connected and better informed than ever before. They also have a very powerful voice that becomes amplified when they run into customer service issues every company’s worst nightmare! In order to keep pace, companies need to be able to provide employees with a holistic view of the customer, including every interaction they make whether it’s an inquiry, sale, 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 much happier. With one platform serving as the technology backbone, companies can raise the bar for customer service.
As we look ahead to continued innovations in technology, such as those driving the Internet of Things (IoT) movement, it’s also important that businesses start thinking about how the customer experience will be impacted even further, in the not-so-distant future. It’s inevitable that machine-to-machine connectivity will open up new ways of serving customers. IoT devices, such as smartwatches, will need to be able to automatically check information from front and back office systems to perform basic customer requests such as, “Where’s my order?” or “I want to view my payment history.”
As a result, CRM and ERP will become critical to business success in the world of IoT. However, if your business applications aren’t even capable of communicating seamlessly with one another now, how can you expect them to do so when humans are no longer the primary drivers of the customer experience? Again, this is why untangling from the wrath of FrankenCloud and implementing a one platform strategy is crucial, now and in the future.
Since its inception, the cloud has, without a doubt, shown tremendous value for businesses, and it’s continuing to grow in popularity for good reason. Bringing business-critical applications onto the cloud is a wise and strategic move for any company, whether it be an SMB or large enterprise. However, selecting the right cloud platform can mean the difference between mediocrity and greatness impacting the success of a business from the inside out. In navigating this era of rapidly changing markets, empowered customers and connected workers, it’s more important than ever that businesses build on one single cloud platform that will support their overall growth. Only then will they experience the full breadth of the cloud.
Now, let’s band together and put FrankenCloud to rest once and for all.
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