The adages, “turn CapEx into OpEx” and “don’t focus on IT, focus on your core business” are what tend to motivate organisations to adopt a cloud model, but the real benefits of cloud extend far beyond this.
This was evident in a Tata Communications study, which asked 1,000 executives about the benefits they’re experiencing in the cloud. While the usual contenders made an appearance – cost savings, improved security, faster access to data – more surprising was the 83% of executives who reported benefits they hadn’t expected. These included better communications within their organisations (25%), improved customer satisfaction (22%), and increased revenues they did not anticipate (22%).
Let’s explore these three lesser known benefits of moving to the cloud.
1. The cloud’s impact on internal communications
The workforce is becoming more mobile and geographically dispersed. But being physically distant doesn’t mean communication has to suffer internally. In fact, many organisations are noticing that the cloud facilitates collaboration by bringing together employees and contractors from multiple locations, and enabling company data to be accessed from anywhere, on any device.
With the right cloud-based mobility and collaboration technologies in place, such as videoconferencing and file sharing, information can be more easily shared among team members, regardless of location, which supports teamwork and the generation of ideas.
Another way organisations are seeing improved communications with the cloud is via the phone system. Cloud IPBX allows workers to make, receive, and transfer business calls seamlessly, regardless of their location, meaning a user could be just as connected working in the office as he or she is on the road, or in a hotel room abroad.
But it’s not just about transcending physical boundaries. The main impact the cloud has on internal communications is breaking down ‘virtual’ boundaries in the form of data silos. Legacy infrastructure creates barriers between business functions where they otherwise might not have existed. If one department’s software doesn’t talk to another’s, it’s hard for them to work together.
Now, cloud-based Software as a Service platforms exist that integrate with other services, reducing these communication barriers inherent in so many organisations, and establishing cross-functional collaboration.
2. The cloud’s impact on customer satisfaction
For many organisations, the cloud is turning out to be the secret weapon to relieve common service complaints and delight customers.
Today’s tech-savvy consumers are high maintenance; they want immediate, tailored solutions, wherever they are, and on their platform of choice. The role of IT infrastructure is to facilitate the exchange of information across the organisation, but as we explained, legacy systems force data to remain in silos.
A cloud infrastructure, on the other hand, democratises data and ensures the right people, processes, and systems talk to each other, at the right time. From a digital standpoint, delivering a superior customer experience is only going to be possible if an organisation’s own internal experience is seamless.
But it’s not just digital touchpoints – moving to the cloud can also improve the physical touchpoints (A touchpoint can be defined as any way a consumer can interact with a business) customers have with the company. When the internal IT experience is better, employees are happier, and this happiness extends to the customer.
3. The cloud’s impact on revenue
While most organisations go into the cloud expecting to save money, many are finding that they’re actually making money with the cloud.
This is because the customer experience is fast becoming the key to achieving a competitive advantage. In fact, a 2016 study by customer intelligence consulting firm, Walker, found that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
A huge finding from this study was that 86% of consumers are prepared to pay more for better customer experience. It’s clear, then, why so many businesses who have adopted the cloud are seeing surprise revenue growth. Delivering an effortless digital experience will improve customer loyalty and see sales soar for organisations that get it right, boosting their bottom line as a result.
More to cloud than meets the eye
There is much more to cloud computing than technology alone, and its benefits extend far beyond cost savings. While the initial focus might be on cost justification, there’s a growing recognition of the role that the cloud can play in supporting employee morale, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.