It’s new and fashionable. But is that any reason to move to the Cloud for your IT resources and infrastructure? Los Angeles distributors that successfully adopt cloud services are likely do so for much more business-oriented reasons.
Done correctly, cloud computing can bring measurable improvement in areas that have a direct impact on the bottom line, either by reducing costs or boosting profits.
1. Spend Less on IT
The most immediate, beneficial impact of cloud computing on IT budgets comes from its elasticity. In other words, you only pay for what you need. In on-premises computing where you buy your own servers, a portion of the server capacity will be idle and unused.
This is logical enough: you bought new servers because the existing ones were maxed out. However, you still have to pay for the whole server even if you only use half of it. In cloud computing, you can use half a server and only pay for that half.
2. Move Faster to Meet Demand
Cloud providers are increasingly moving to ‘click and buy’ operations to allow customers to immediately access additional resources. This is a big step forward compared to the lead time for ordering and commissioning new systems on your own site.
Better still, you can ramp up resources to meet a seasonal rush and divest your operation of them afterwards without financial penalties or sunk capital.
3. Integrate for Better Visibility
Many Software as a Service (SaaS) providers have figured out they’ll do better in their markets by working well with others. Cloud ERP and inventory management systems interlink seamlessly with office automation, scheduling, and project management applications.
Information flows easily, silos are broken down, and senior management gets digestible information and reports. The built-in modularity and elasticity of cloud computing has also prompted vendors to offer integrated suites of business software that let users mix, match, and evolve their cloud-based operations easily and incrementally.
4. Access New Technologies
Smaller Los Angeles distributors in particular can now move to the Cloud and use better solutions that were simply beyond their budget as on-premises purchases. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a case in point.
Before, a distributor that wanted the power of software-driven sales prospecting and management throughout its operations had to invest heavily in systems, acquisition of technical competence, time, and effort. Now CRM capability is available and affordable over the web without any specialist technical knowledge required.
5. Open Up New Business Opportunities
Not surprisingly, what you like about the Cloud also appeals to your business partners. The Cloud increases possibilities of collaboration. With appropriate user permission settings, you and your suppliers and resellers can work together to better manage supply and demand.
It becomes easier to bring new partners online with new services: for example, real time inventory tracking in distribution centers and automatic replenishment of reseller stocks.
6. Boost Customer Satisfaction
Increased responsiveness, better inventory management, and new value added business services via the Cloud all contribute to heightened customer satisfaction. But a move to the Cloud lets you go further to increase the transparency of your operations for better customer information.
Rather than setting up customer access to on-premises systems (a delicate matter at the best of times), offer them visibility into their dealings with you through a secure cloud interface.
How has cloud computing changed the way you do business? Share your thoughts in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.