Businesses today are turning their back on large scale “big bang” projects that have a habit of over-running on time and cost. Instead, smaller bite sized projects are being favoured that give rapid results and have lower start-up costs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is no exception.

We exist in the era of SaaS, where everything is on-demand and available on a subscription basis. Businesses want quick easy wins vs ongoing projects, so they can budget as they go rather than tying up lots of capital in a long term project.” – Henry Anson, Editor at The Manufacturer.

Here we look at the concerns and benefits of moving to a cloud based CRM solution, as well as best practice for successfully managing the changeover.

Cloud concerns Many businesses have concerns around unexpected costs as growth occurs. Having to rely on a hosting provider means relinquishing control to a 3rd party for updates and repairs, and the potential complications that may arise when moving data to the cloud from disparate systems may seem daunting.

Reducing costly CAPEX spend Moving over to cloud CRM has many benefits, starting with the short and long term cost savings. It cuts out expensive hardware setup and ongoing staffing costs, replacing these with more flexible pricing options that cater for scalability. Many businesses are looking to move from CAPEX to OPEX; being able to pay per user on a subscription basis avoids having to commit to lengthy projects, that are likely to overrun with spiralling costs.

More time to drive the business forward With updates and repairs managed by a hosting provider, IT service and maintenance responsibilities are automatically reduced. For IT department’s this means more time to focus efforts elsewhere, helping grow the business and prioritise departmental objectives.

Improving security for a modern workforce Offsite storage of company and client data makes sensitive information less vulnerable to on-site disasters. Cloud-based CRM also enables secure remote access, giving users more freedom and choice to work how and when they want.

Preparing for the move Moving to the cloud can be a smooth transition if planned well. Creating a step by step plan is a smart place to start, beginning by assigning an implementation team to manage and execute the move. Key steps should include a thorough training plan to build engagement, a phase-gated migration with stakeholder sign off, and a rigorous test schedule to confirm readiness. Finally, a successful launch should be followed by a close inspection to review the benefits of the new system, to ascertain any changes that are required.

HSO & Kohler Co – working together on a digital journey One company already enjoying the rewards of a more agile project approach is Kohler Co, a leading manufacturer of luxury kitchen and bath products. Kohler embarked on a digital journey with HSO to streamlined supplier communications and enhanced business reporting using Microsoft Office 365 with Dynamics 365.

“It was a small, low key, rather than a large-scale Agile project, but it took us through the main principles to get you to a great solution, rather than trying to “boil the ocean” right from the start – it takes small steps” – Marcus Judge, Director IT Services EMEA, Kohler Co

The project involved using small sprints to design, check, and adjust the solution, with quick brainstorm-style meetings. Because of this approach, Kohler Co now have an evolving system they plan to roll out to other business areas.

For expert guidance on how to plan for a smooth cloud journey, get in touch with us today.