In October 2010, Microsoft launched the “To the Cloud” advertising campaign. Almost as quickly as it started, it became the butt of jokes. It still is for those who remember it. Lucky for Microsoft, that would be precious few. Everything about that campaign was horrendous.
One of the big mistakes was pushing business infrastructure onto consumers as if they should care. But business solutions were what Microsoft had to sell. And under Balmer, they were laser-focused on competing with Apple for the hearts and minds of consumers. That didn’t work out very well.
Had Microsoft concentrated their efforts on businesses, they might have had a winner on their hands. There was nothing wrong with a cloud-focused marketing effort. It was just aimed at the wrong audience, and for all the wrong reasons. Today, there are many businesses that still haven’t gotten the message. Now, more than ever, business owners need to have their heads in the cloud. Here’s why:
Business Is Done in the Cloud
Businesses without a cloud strategy are missing out on a marketplace as big as the world itself. The cloud is where business is done. Many companies exist exclusively on cloud servers and data centers. Companies like Amazon and Apple do tens of billions of dollars a year in online transactions. They have more credit cards on file than your bank. And they store more personal data about you than your shrink.
That is why when you take your business to the cloud, you also have to take your security. Trend Micro had this to say about cloud security:
Not having the right security as you deploy enterprise workloads in the virtual data center and the cloud can lead to security gaps, lower ROI, performance lags, and difficulty achieving compliance. You can secure critical data and applications across your cloud and virtualized environments with effective server protection that maximizes their operational and economic benefits.
It is not just about protecting customers from security breaches. It is also about ROI, performance, and regulatory compliance. These are the same concerns shared by brick & mortar businesses. Meeting these concerns is just a part of doing business, whether in the cloud or anywhere else.
Communications Are in the Cloud
Unlike 50 years ago, there is a chance that most of your customers will be people who you will never meet in person, shake hands with, or have a face-to-face conversation. These days, few people care about how firm your handshake is, or how much sincerity is conveyed through your eyes.
Communications are done over email and text. That is not to say that you don’t need a business phone. But even that has moved from land lines to cloud-based telephony. There are many benefits of VoIP. Among other advantages, voice over IP tends to offer huge savings over traditional PBX systems.
The savings are not just achieved through lower equipment and installation costs. The very nature of packet switching and Internet protocols make moving voice data faster, and with fewer wires and physical transfer of information. This makes a VoIP network a lot less expensive to operate. In the cloud, talk is cheap. That is just one more reason your business should be there.
Service Is Better in the Cloud
How long were you on hold the last time you had to call your broadband provider’s customer service? When you finally got someone on the phone, was it more painful to solve your problem than, say, pulling teeth? Chat service is much faster and usually more helpful. With remote desktop software, companies are able to RDP into your computer and fix the problem remotely while you watch.
Cloud support does not have to be the only kind of support you offer. But it will help take a load of pressure off of your traditional phone lines. Better support, less expensive communications, and expanded business opportunities are just three of a long list of reasons why there has been no better time to move your business to the cloud.