These days the world is moving ‘in the cloud’. You can build social, mobile and real-time employee apps and run them in cloud. From social media platforms to instantaneous access to information on smartphones, there has been a tremendous growth in the app economy.
From a stand-alone app for salespeople to an essential front office platform focusing on every customer interaction, Cloud technology has evolved through a number of phases like grid and utility computing, application service position (ASP) and software as a service (SaaS).
So where is the cloud heading?
The cloud technology has transformed the computing landscape. The customers are ever connected and the range of mobile devices are ever expanding. People expect access to programs, data at any site anywhere. Cloud technology is helping to achieve this.
Behind every device, app and product, the key element is the customer. Customer relationship management has never been more important than it is today. That makes the cloud a very good place to run business software like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications.
Gartner predicted that Saas CRM solutions will reach a deployment rate between 80 and 85 per cent in the next nine years. While the CRM software market is growing rapidly, cloud-based systems are expanding as the ubiquitous tool in client management practices.
There has been a phenomenal shift from desk based work to working on the go, meaning there is no more waiting to get to office to fix the job. One could do it either at desktop machines or tablets or smartphones when they are on the move. Besides there is no hassle of installation or managing a hardware as it is the cloud company that runs the app.
However, security and data privacy remain the central challenge. Addressing this concern, Cloud companies have offered ‘hybrid’ models that allow clients to put sensitive data on their in-house clouds and the rest on public clouds. With real time businesses heading towards cloud, security concerns will be resolved soon.
Salesforce marches ahead
With years of experience in managing the cloud infrastructure, Salesforce is rapidly progressing while making the cloud platform secure, reliable and collaborative.
As the business expands the volume of staff, data also spiral up. It is increasingly important to understand how much do you know about the customer. The cloud is the quick fix here as the technology enables connectivity beyond mobiles. Other benefits include increased storage, flexibility, cost reduction and efficient use of IT resources.
Cisco predicts that the average consumer will own five internet-enabled devices by the year 2017. According to market reports Salesforce is now marching ahead as the top most cloud-based CRM. To quote the MIT statement, 91 per cent of companies using Salesforce observed that their marketing teams have a ‘strong executive voice’. Marketers valued the existing clientele than acquiring new ones. After integrating Salesforce into daily workflow, businesses can expect better revenues, productive employees and most importantly better customer experiences.
These indications emphasize that Salesforce is successfully transforming itself into a cloud platform business. However there has been concern over data complexity due to accumulation of data errors by users, data customization, business model changes such as mergers. While companies battle it out with data complexity, CRM apps offer solutions that make the challenge less daunting. Management of underlying data is crucial to enjoy the expanded use of Salesforce. And companies that have witnessed this fact are starting to be noticed by investors.
Cloud computing provides a robust mechanism for the development of enterprise apps, increase productivity and ensure better customer service. Unlike some technologies that are in-here and out-tomorrow, Cloud is going to be the dominant platform for existing and new applications.