What We Can Learn About CRM in the Cloud from the Holiday Season

With the holidays officially behind us, I thought it would be a good time to express how
this season is uniquely suited to teach us about the value of CRM in the Cloud. What
do these two things have to do with each other? There is a real correlation between
strategies and tactics we use to maximize our holiday shopping experience and the
decisions we make in our work lives to improve our overall performance. These “holiday
methodologies” will help us answer some looming question surrounding on-premise vs.
the cloud CRM. That being said, let’s get started.

Efficient

There are roughly two types of people during the holiday season: those who get their
shopping done really early; and those who get their shopping done really late. Somehow
I found myself in the latter group this year and while I was at Toys R Us, a rather angry
woman made a scene when I tried to slide by her to get to a different side of the aisle. I
assure you, the story that is to follow is not made up just for the purposes of proving a
point in this blog. Since I didn’t happen to grab her name, for the duration of this scene,
she will be referred to the as the “unusually angry woman.” After sliding to the other
side of the aisle, the interaction begins as follows:

Unusually angry woman: “Are you trying to take my purse??”

My initial reaction was to laugh because I didn’t think she was serious. Unfortunately
this just exacerbated the situation.

Unusually angry woman: “You think this is a joke??”

Me: “No mam,” I respond politely.

Me: “I apologize if I bumped you, I just didn’t want to disturb you because you looked as
if you were in the midst of a conversation with your friend.”

Unusually angry woman: “You didn’t touch me, but if you would have, I would have
been really angry. It would have got real ugly up in here.”

Now I am genuinely puzzled. Luckily, my long road trips with Jay-Z’s Blueprint album
proved helpful since I remembered the line, “A wise man never argues with fools because
people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”

As a result, my response to her latest retort was simply, “Merry Christmas mam.”

At the end of the day, I couldn’t be mad at her because it was two days before Christmas
and I chose to procrastinate on this last particular gift. What can we all learn from this?
It pays to be efficient and on-time.

What does this have to do with CRM? Cloud CRM is the equivalent of getting your
holiday shopping done early and avoiding all the inefficiencies created by massive
crowds with potentially volatile moods. Cloud based CRM solutions are just more
efficient. Even if your business is in IT, do you really want to spend your time and
resources maintaining a solution designed to help you sell and market more?

Cloud CRM options are now robust enough where you sacrifice zero functionality for
selecting a solution that is more accessible, more reliable and often times, more secure
than what you can maintain in your own internal environment. With a large number of
cloud solution providers meeting federal government standard security requirements, the
reasons to go with an on-premise solution continually decrease. Added to that, numerous
companies are extending the reach of CRM through development of cloud based
applications designed to enhance functionality. Take one look at the Salesforce.com,
Microsoft Dynamics or SAP’s marketplaces and you will see a ton of companies offering
cloud based solutions to enhance those products.

Future Proof

This holiday season millions of people bought LCD’s, Bluerays, tablets, and other
gadgets. Before making a final decision, most consumers probably thought about how
relevant this technology would be in 2 or 3 years. With technology increasing at such a
rapid pace, it always helps to know if the 6 HDMI ports and built in WIFI on your latest
3D LCD TV will protect your investment long enough to prevent you from having to go
through the exact same exercise in 12 months.

This same methodology needs to be applied to the solutions you purchase for your
business. Cloud based solutions allow you to future proof your investment without really
giving it any thought. Updates are seamlessly delivered via the cloud so customers can
ensure that they will be working from the latest and greatest version of the solution.

Sure, when you purchase software in an on-premise form, updates are typically included
with your maintenance costs. But, how many of you really want to spend the time
installing these updates?

Buy More Save More

Beyond the family get-togethers and food, what is one of the main reasons many love
the holiday season? Sales. I’m not the biggest shopper, but I will admit it is hard to
avoid looking at some of the Black Friday deals or taking advantage of some of those
last minute pre or post-Christmas sales. In fact, this year I probably bought a bunch of
random shirts that I have no real need for, but the deals were attractive.

As a result of the influx of shoppers, retailers are able to leverage the large number of
consumers that shop during the holiday season. The same logic applies to cloud based
solutions.

At this point, if you decide to go with a cloud based CRM solution, you are no longer
an early adopter. This means you are able to leverage the relatively large numbers of
customers already utilizing a multi-tenant CRM environment. Very robust solutions
can now be found for sub $100/user/month. When factoring in annual IT and hardware
expenses typically associated with on-premise installations of similarly capable solutions,
your cloud based options are now more competitively priced than ever.

So what have we learned? Unless you have some unique needs or industry specific
requirements which make an on-premise solution a necessity, if your goal is to pick the
most efficient, future proof and cost effective solution, a cloud based CRM option is the
way to go.

Contributor:
Brian Rikuda
EVP of CRM solutions company, iServiceGlobe
www.iserviceglobe.com

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