We’ll let you in on a little secret: your competitors—more specifically, the organizations in your space who have upgraded their legacy business systems by taking their data and processes to the cloud—don’t want you to follow their lead. Why would they want you to benefit from the same advantages and start competing on a level playing field? Exactly.

Moving to the Cloud is a Competitive Necessity

Bringing your systems and processes up-to-date is competitive must-have. With the swift changes taking place in the arenas of big data and mobility, making due with yesterday’s technology isn’t enough to maintain the status quo, let alone sharpen competitive edge.

Many organizations are embracing cloud computing as a means to get ahead—to improve their processes, get faster access to better data, support decision-making, and more. In fact, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reveals that nearly three-quarters (74%) of businesses say cloud computing has given them a competitive advantage. Here’s why:

Cloud-Based Business Software Enables Get-Ahead Agility

In CIO, Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC, says, “The biggest impact of the cloud is the ability to accelerate the rate of innovation for the business.” This point can be extrapolated in several ways, but the bottom-line is that cloud computing modernizes the management of data and processes to the extent that businesses can be run differently.

Consider (separately and together) the impact integrated data, faster processing speeds, and automation have on decision-makers’ ability to uncover inefficiencies, solve problems, identify opportunities, and take action. Cloud computing promotes and supports agility: the ability to understand and respond quickly and easily to a myriad of business drivers. (Glean more insights in A Look Inside the Evolution of the Self-Service BI Trend.)

This agility may result in smarter employee management, more efficient processes and workflows, and more satisfied customers and vendors—but it all adds up to competitive wherewithal.

Cloud Computing Keeps Resources Focused on the Future

When it comes to maintaining legacy software—keeping it running, making it “work” for changing business needs, accommodating new users—you’d be hard-pressed to describe the effort as “user-friendly.” That’s because aging technology tends to require compatible hardware upgrades, manual software updates, custom programming (for new functionality), manual data manipulation, and other time-and personnel-intensive work. The costs are correspondingly intense.

Compared with the relatively low start-up and maintenance costs associated with cloud-based software—and the cost-savings achieved through automation and always-accessible data and tools—outdated technology systems are no match.   (Download 6 Profitable Reasons to Replace Aging Business Management Systems for more details.)

Companies tend to find that the financial advantages of “running” a cloud-computing environment allow them to put more resources into innovation. That might mean meeting customer demands with new technologies, enhanced product and service offerings, or moving into new markets altogether. What’s more, when a company’s IT department (and budget) is untethered from daily software administration, they can focus on more customer-oriented projects—yet another competitive step in the right direction.

Cloud Software is Ready-for-Growth

A growing company is a competitive company. On-premise software systems often aren’t nimble enough to (quickly and affordably) assume new functionality or integrate with new systems, cloud-based or otherwise. Growing geographically or into new consumer markets requires a flexible infrastructure that’s built to scale and assume new functionality—especially in today’s “always connected” world. We dig into this further in 6 Signs It’s Time To Migrate Your Legacy IT Environment to the Cloud, Part 2.

Aside from keeping the back-office humming (and expanding), cloud-based systems help meet customer and vendor demand for digital tools, on-demand and self-service resources, and overall faster service. Providing the experience they expect is becoming more critical to earning and keeping their loyalty, not to mention attracting new customers. If your company doesn’t deliver, it’s all too easy for the dissatisfied to find what they need elsewhere—and that’s what your competitors are counting on.

Contact us if you’re ready to explore cloud computing and the many ways it can help you achieve a strong competitive position.

Additional Cloud Resources:

How a Cloud-Based ERP System Helps Enhance Your Customers’ Experience

6 Signs It’s Time To Migrate Your Legacy IT Environment to the Cloud, Part 1

Why Organizations are Putting their CRM in the Cloud

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