4 Ways IT Drives Cloud CRM Success


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During CRM projects, we often encounter IT groups that resist — or even fear — using cloud-based applications.

This resistance isn’t surprising: Historically, if IT kept the servers running, it earned few accolades. But when passwords failed or servers crashed and burned, the condemnation was swift. Such negative reinforcement has resulted in many IT groups regarding new technology with extreme caution, and avoiding systems over which they have no control.

Consider, however, the resulting business repercussions. According to Gartner Group, for the typical IT organization, maintenance and support now consumes 60% to 80% of spending. In other words, IT has built an amazing castle (aka data center), replete with moat. But with cloud computing, IT (extending the metaphor) can escape the castle to instruct the peasants in modern, sustainable agricultural practices.

In other words, cloud computing frees IT to use its expertise and experience to improve the business. Small wonder that over the next two years, business use of cloud computing is set to double.

4 Ways IT Must Guide Cloud CRM

As experts at cloud CRM, part of our job at Innoveer is to help marketing, sales, service, as well as IT groups to see when and how the cloud can help. This includes providing advice about which cloud applications to start with, the skills required for a cloud environment, as well as a long-term plan for embracing the cloud and integrating existing business systems with cloud CRM.

When it comes to seizing the opportunities offered by the cloud, here’s how IT can best help guide this process:

  • Embrace uptime: Despite the occasional cloud outage, even the best enterprise data centers are hard-pressed to beat the uptime levels guaranteed by Salesforce.com or Oracle CRM On Demand. This uptime works to IT’s advantage, because it means fewer rote responsibilities, and more opportunities for finding new ways to use technology to better support the business.
  • Delegate CRM selection: Savvy CIOs use the cloud to delegate software selection — and thus responsibility — to department heads. This doesn’t mean making the sales, marketing, or service group “go it alone.” Rather, IT provides guidance, but makes each business group choose whether they want to move to the cloud, as well as which application they select. This strategy does wonders for avoiding user adoption challenges.
  • Share the budget: IT must swap control for empowerment. As IT often controls the lion’s share of the technology budget, this means releasing some of the related budget to end user departments, to involve them more fully in the process.
  • Embed IT personnel in business units: Rather than just handling backup tapes or mainframe uptime, it’s time for IT to forward-deploy its expertise to help the business. For CIOs, this means rewriting job descriptions, taking resources currently devoted to support, and embedding them in marketing, sales, and service groups, to directly diagnose problems and drive improvements.

The Cloud As Carrot

When it comes to selecting, implementing, and supporting cloud CRM, IT is arguably most effective when it serves as a trusted technology advisor. Of course, during the software selection process, IT plays an essential role in vetting new technology to ensure that it will integrate with existing systems, as well as providing a reality check for vendors’ claims.

But making business groups accountable for the software they select, as well as its adoption, is a powerful force. Business managers and their employees become responsible for project success. Meanwhile the IT group, instead of having to manage maintenance and support for yet another application, can focus on applying the technology to better support business requirements.

Thus while the cloud may be new, and not under IT’s direct control, there are upsides for all. Don’t fear the cloud; embrace it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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