Talking Business: Cloud-based Solutions Driving Technology Selection

Talking Business: Cloud-based Solutions Driving Technology Selection

 

By Desmond J. Hardy

The number of applications in the cloud is growing four times faster than those deployed by corporate IT departments, and much of that growth is coming from line-of-business (LOB) executives searching for answers to business problems – not technology. That’s why it makes good sense to understand the challenges companies face from a business perspective before talking “bit and bytes.”

Only the largest enterprises have tapped into the power of the cloud. About 85% of the companies in the mid-market, those with annual revenue of between $3 million and $5 million, are looking for exactly what the cloud has to offer – increased operational efficiency and lower cost. But, these decision-makers approach technology from a business perspective – not a technical one. What they are looking for – increased productivity from employees especially remote workers – often comes from cloud-based solutions that are more intuitive and easier to use than “traditional” technology systems.

For example, when speaking with a customer recently, I discovered that the company needed a more reliable backup system. When their system went down, their cell backup just wasn’t cutting it. They were delighted to find that a cloud-based solution could deliver the reliability they needed without a contract and at a lower cost.

In another instance, an outdated CRM system required that native applications be installed on every employee’s laptop. Moving to a new cloud-based CRM system was faster, easier to use and less expensive, making its selection an easy business decision for the customer. Now they can assign tasks to their employees and track new business opportunities with their smartphones. They can tell if their emails were opened and acted on, they can schedule follow-up paths for unresponsive prospects, and their employees work from automatically generated daily “to do” lists to assure that new business opportunities are handled on a timely basis. None of this was possible with the CRM system they previously had in place.

This example validates a larger trend we are seeing – about 60% of small business employees are already using their smartphones to conduct business. As more LOB executives search for solutions to their business problems, Carmichael is out ahead of this trend with its cloud-based solutions. Often, executives and employees are looking for answers to their business challenges without involving IT. As a result, sometimes these solutions do not include the security provisions IT would like to see. However, our technical heritage puts us in a unique position to see how critical security is for all types of business solutions.

Every company, regardless of size, need to formulate mobile and cloud strategies to assure everywhere access to data in a secure way. This recommendation is not just good business sense, it is essential to companies’ survival.

More than 40% of companies have sensitive, confidential information on their servers and often access to that data is not encrypted, which makes the company vulnerable to hacks and ransomware attacks. One in five companies will suffer a breach at some point, and the average cost of working through a breach is $2.4 million. Not only is that a hard hit to the bottom line, many breached companies go out of business.

Often, companies with $3 million to $5 million in revenue think they are too small to be targeted by hackers. In reality, the opposite is true. Large enterprises are so well protected that hacking into those systems is quite a challenge. That’s why smaller companies make better targets.