Analyst predictions and current growth of technology-based service businesses demonstrate the fast pace of change and disruption of ‘business as usual’ across all markets.

Through prevalence of mobility, cloud and global access, employees, customers and partners now have the ability to shop, work, collaborate anywhere, anytime, on any device.

For a business owner, this means you can now provide innovative services in less time to more people at a lower cost. This facilitates growth and competitive advantage while streamlining infrastructure and introducing new revenue streams.

It’s no longer a matter of whether to transform your business model, go to market approach and internal business processes ‘to the cloud’, it’s about when and how.

Changing Focus

Transitioning to the cloud (internally or through delivering your product ‘as a service’) goes beyond changing technology. It is a disruption to the standard business model and work patterns. Business model transformation requires a significant but necessary shift in mentality. The key is to change focus from things and products to services and customers.

For example, for companies purchasing software, the transition to cloud computing involves moving from buying a box of software to be installed on an individual computer to leasing online software that is accessible anywhere (software as a service). SaaS provides potentially unlimited access to the latest software on demand (for a regular subscription fee).

This allows easier, global, up to date access, collaboration, sharing and storage – what ou need when you need it.

Business Drivers

Today’s business world is global, dynamic and competitive. To be ahead of the curve all business owners and executives need the tools, adaptability and access to change, move into new markets and adjust their approach as customer and market needs evolve.

Once businesses understand the benefits enabled by the cloud (time to market, innovation, mobility, flexibility, productivity, customer engagement, convenience, cost reduction, lower IT overhead, etc.), it’s important to build an underlying infrastructure that ensures success throughout the transition and enables scalability.

Out with the Old Way of Thinking

As with any business transformation, it’s important to clarify overall objectives and determine how success will be measured. Toss out any preconceived notions about “rules” and existing apps that are “must haves.” You will be more successful if you embrace this important change. Other significant changes await.

When using suite of shrink-wrapped software products, customers often must purchase, install and use each component separately. Each component may be revised at different intervals, and software used within one company may have different versions operating concurrently.

By transition to the cloud, all users have real-time access to software enhancements. This streamlines the need for individual tracking and makes it much simpler to support and upgrade software whenever necessary. This reduces IT infrastructure costs and streamlines productivity.

A successful transformation involves aligning multiple areas of the business: Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Services, Training, Operations, Support, etc. around a single strategy. It’s not simply a matter of flipping a switch. Leaders must understand the benefits and continuously drive change from within. They must reconsider whether their brand and value messaging need to evolve.

Questions to Consider

It’s helpful to get an outside-in perspective from an unbiased third party as to the strengths of the current business model as well as opportunities for productivity enhancements, customer satisfaction, and innovation. Each of the following questions must be addressed prior to the transition.

  • How can a cloud transformation benefit your organization?
  • How will moving to the cloud change your engagement with your customers?
  • Which business processes can be streamlined?
  • Which employees will be impacted?
  • Which behavior changes are needed to create a strong foundation for moving forward?
  • How will sales and channel teams transition from selling solutions to selling a subscription/renewal model? Incentives will need to change accordingly.
  • Which sales enablement training programs should be used to train management as well as individual employees?
  • What about post-sales support? What needs to change?
  • How will we measure our success?

Sales Enablement

Identifying necessary behavioral changes is critical to success. The proper training programs can offer interactive opportunities to understand the changing perspectives as well as role- play and practice the new behaviors.

Just as critical is understanding how channel partners see the world, how their business will change, and how to best prepare them for the transformation. Each audience impacted by the changes must be approached differently.

Each organization should consider engaging an expert cloud-transformation team from the very beginning of the process to ensure a successful outcome. This team should partner closely with your own experts to understand your current business model and goals, then work toward implementation. Many companies get stuck at the “analysis paralysis” phase with little to show for their efforts. With the right people focused on the transformation, you may be pleasantly surprised at just how much better you are positioned for growth, innovation, and productivity.

The Essential First Step

The most successful organizations recognize that they cannot perform a significant transformation without the help of experts.

Few companies have a proven track record of implementing a significant change using today’s cloud technologies. This is where Next Step becomes a crucial business partner. For each organization, Next Step’s team of experts performs a thorough, yet efficient, assessment of how each stakeholder will be affected, from customers to sales teams, channel partners, CXOs, etc.

After diagnosing opportunities for productivity enhancements, Next Step’s team works closely with the organization to not only create a blueprint for the transition, but also to successfully execute it. Next Step has a proven set of best practices related to a cloud transition leveraging subject matter experts who are held accountable for measurable results. The result is a strong foundation for future growth, scalability, productivity, and increased sales.

Engaging Next Step is your first step to success.