As ever with rapidly changing technologies, new entrants can leapfrog more established players by leveraging technology. New start-ups these days will set up using Cloud services, which will give them an immediate advantage over established competitors who will have set up with traditional on- premises systems, and have significant investments in business processes. They face costs to migrate to cloud based services.
So the new entrant will typically have Cloud based Finance, HR, Security and webhosting. This will deliver advantages in terms of lower start-up costs, lower overhead costs, maintenance, flexibility, scalability and versatility. They will also have the advantage of accurate data readily available to them, and the ability to scale up quickly and easily as required.
Using the Cloud, new products can be developed, created and launched quickly, paperwork eliminated, business managed on the move. Informed decisions can be made using real time accurate data. In some cases the balance of power in a market can shift as the new entrants topple the less agile established players, their rapid expansion powered by new technologies.
Their agility has enabled start-ups to disrupt the market, taking market share from established players. They do not have to deal with legacy systems and processes. Think of the effect Skype, Google, eBay, Uber, Netflix and Airbnb have had on their sectors and markets. They have redefined the product and market completely.
The more established players, who have to contend with legacy systems, data compliance issues, and need to factor in the cost of migration, will probably adopt a hybrid Cloud approach, running some parts of the business from an on-premises system, with other parts run in the Cloud. In this way they can select the most advantageous route in terms of cost, compliance, reliability and security for their needs.
Let have a look at some examples of how the cloud can enable companies to improve their customer engagement and service.
Information is power!!
The Cloud enables access to fast accurate data which companies can use effectively to better manage their business.
In retailing for example, there are platforms that allow inventory to be synchronised across all of an organisations’ outlets – both “bricks and mortar “and online outlets. This allows retail assistants to use an iPad, for example, to check inventory for a customer across all outlets, reserve the stock of an item they choose to buy, take payment, and even dispatch the customer’s item in the correct size and colour to their home.
This drives sales, and gives customers an excellent seamless experience with the retailer. Stock can automatically be reordered when it is running low, pricing can be altered to react to sales, a personalised email can be sent to a customer inviting them to buy particular items.
Personalised emails allow companies to develop a relationship with their customers, understand their wants and needs, and use predictive analytics to engage proactively with their customers about their specific interests.
Loyalty schemes are another example of users being able to access platforms held in the Cloud, log in and look at features available, view and buy products, view statements and offers, book flights and more.