5 Cloud Trends That’ll Impact SMEs

by December 18, 2015 0 comments

– Nanya Srivastava, Business Analyst, Zoho
The total cloud market in India is expected to reach $14.8 billion by 2020. Small and medium-sized businesses are driving this growth as they are the fastest adopters of the cloud. It not only reduces cost but also enables these companies to challenge and compete with larger, more established players the way Uber and Ola have done with cab companies. Now, if cab companies hope to survive in this new landscape, they have to offer a mobile app that makes hailing a taxi easy for commuters.
In the cover story of PC Quest August edition titled ‘SMEs in India are Thinking Out Cloud’, several entrepreneurs advised SMBs about what cloud software features to look for. Let’s now look at the key cloud features that’ll impact SMEs in the near future.

Nanya Srivastava Business Analyst, ZohoSonam Yadav | Pcquest

Nanya Srivastava
Business Analyst, Zoho

1. Scalability
You might start by using spreadsheets (albeit cloud-based ones) for storing contacts and handling sales and marketing figures. That may suffice when you have 10, 20, or even 100 contacts, but scaling on spreadsheets beyond that would hinder performance. What you need is a dedicated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that not only keeps a database of all your leads and contacts, but also tracks sales and marketing efforts. With a scalable CRM, you won’t have to look for a new solution once your customers increase from 100 to 1,000 to a lakh.
2. Flexibility
Many business solutions are built for enterprises and are therefore costly and unaffordable for SMBs. Also, these solutions come loaded with features that a small company would not need until they become medium-sized. Go for a solution that offers various plans and add-ons, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Because most SaaS vendors follow a subscription model, you can switch to a different plan at any given time without hassles.
3. Ease of Use
While leveraging technology is vital for you to stay and grow as a business, you don’t have to be a software engineer to effectively use it. Go for a software solution that is intuitive, easy to use and easy to set up without extensive outside help. There are vendors that give you a business solution for a low cost but charge you heavily for setting it up. Before you purchase any solution, look for all the hidden costs and use the trial version.
4. Collaboration Efficiency
Collaboration is at the heart of any business. You might be working with teams in remote locations or different time zones on a particular project or document. With cloud software, you can collaborate in real time even when you’re on the move. Seek out software that offers multiple communication channels—mail, chat, audio and video calls, web conference, etc. — for more efficient collaboration on a task. For example, the ability to chat with various editors of a single document without switching to a different platform.
5. Integration Friendly
Finally, all these pieces of technology should work together as one instead of stand-alone silos. If you’re using three different software solutions for accounting, email campaign and CRM, would you want to maintain and manage the same database in three different places?
Look for a solution that will tightly integrate these—from email campaign and CRM to accounting and HR solutions—to run an entire business. So you can make a list of customers from the CRM (even filter them based on location or other criteria) and send them an email announcing latest deals and product launches. You can then track the responses, such as how many customers opened the mail, through the CRM. An integrated solution requires you to sign in just once (SSO) and makes switching between different software easy. According to a recent Nasscom-Zinnov study, India is home to over 4,000 startups— the third highest in the world—with three to four new ones entering the market every day. Putting your company in the cloud automates many organisational processes, leaving you free to expand the business and take on the ever-growing competition.

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