Cloud Your Thinking About Customer Engagement

customer engagement in process with clouds in the backgroundYour customers are more digitally connected, socially networked, and better informed than ever before. They live ‘in the moment’, interacting with friends and colleagues, sharing their likes, dislikes, and opinions in real-time, through the power of their mobile devices.

So what does this new empowered customer mean to you and your business? Three things really:

1.  Your customers are smarter than you. These connected customers are not relying on you to educate them on your products. They know more about you and your brand…and your competitors than ever. They are getting their information from their peers and your existing customers – through new channels like LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook.

2.  Sales as we know it is dead. 60% of buying process complete before first interaction with sales.

3.  Your customers are less loyal. So, if you’re lucky enough to win new customers. You are more likely to lose them. With more choices and new disruptive business models, customers are increasingly disloyal. 60% are willing to switch brands for better service.

Now, you can choose to ignore these shifts and resist the new technologies like mobile, social, and business networks, and cloud that are driving them. Or you can embrace the changes, tap into these technologies and engage your customers like never before.

And that’s exactly what today’s leading businesses are doing. With increasing frequency, companies are adopting cloud applications, infrastructure, database, and platforms – basically everything as a service.

benefits of using cloud for customer engagementYou’ve probably heard a lot about the TCO benefits of the cloud. And while it certainly offers a cost advantage, the real benefit the cloud brings to business comes in two flavors: innovation and agility.

That’s why so many companies are embracing it.

With rapid innovation cycles, the Cloud delivers new functionality several times per year, enabling you to request and get new enhancements to advance your business. Releases are immediately available to every customer – with no lengthy upgrade cycles, no consultants, and no long training or change management projects required. And with agile Cloud Platforms, you can quickly develop industry-, process-, or company-specific extensions to applications to achieve new, innovative business processes that advance your business.

There are those who will have you believe that the cloud is an either/or proposition. But that’s simply not the case. The beauty of the cloud is that it gives you flexibility and choice. You don’t have to rip and replace your on-premise apps and infrastructure. You can extend it to enable new innovative business processes, gain greater insights, and unlock new value for your business.

This is exactly what ContiTech, a division of Continental AG and one of the world’s leading specialists in rubber and plastics technology, has done by implementing the SAP Cloud for Sales solution in conjunction with its ERP system.  Using SAP Cloud for Sales, ContiTech can deliver rich data and insights that empower its sales team to connect with customers anywhere, anytime, on any device and deliver an incredible and differentiated experience.

Some companies view the Cloud as just another deployment option. But savvy organizations see it for what it really is: a requirement for success in today’s fast-moving world where agility and innovation determine winners and losers.

This blog first appeared on Wired.