We have discussed in detail many aspects of Cloud computing as it relates to business management software, in particular ERP. Cloud computing, especially in the realm of publicly accessed software-as-a-service (SaaS), is getting a lot of press right now.
Within nearly every industry there is an application that brings with it the general benefits of cloud computing, with some being highly specific – there are SaaS companies specifically geared toward simplifying the logistics of running dairy farms! In fact whether we are discussing SaaS, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) we will see the following advantages:
- Pay-per-use models
- Vendor management of upgrades and availability
- Cost savings due to less need for on site personnel
- Easy scaling with the growth of a business
Since these are all givens with regards to cloud, how does cloud computing serve as a differentiator for customer relationship management (CRM) specifically? First, let’s look at some of the key ways that CRM helps a company, as it can:
- provide full visibility into every customer interaction, regardless of what company member performs the interaction.
- present key information in an intuitive and easy to use dashboard
- perform time management functions like scheduling tasks and meetings
- include functionality for customer service activities and marketing plans
As CRM enters the new era on the cloud, there are some ways in which the cloud will play a big role in the evolution of CRM:
- CRM will increasingly come to rely on integration with social media. Some of the most valuable connections and relationships between contacts are to be found within social networks, and a multi-channel social strategy is now a necessity for maintaining customers. Social integration is much easier when a centralized cloud platform is the main point of contact.
- The major source of inefficiency in CRM is duplicative effort and skewing of information. Coordination between personnel is key to make sure that data is not being entered redundantly or multiple parties are not following the same case. The centralization of data helps to cut down the likelihood of these scenarios.
- CRM is best when it is holistically integrated into other business processes. Accounting, fulfillment, project management, and all other important business areas need to coordinate effectively with a CRM strategy. Cloud CRM platforms have the advantage here, as they are easy to integrate with other systems and often have readily available apps/modules/extensions that bring together such functionality without the need for customization
For more on the advantages of using SaaS for CRM, ERP, accounting, and other key business systems, contact a trusted cloud consultant.