Companies are no longer considering cloud in terms of “why,” but “when?” From ordering an Uber with the push of a button to signing a document with an e-signature tool, we live in a culture of now. In today’s digital era, we are used to getting what we want, exactly when we want it. Many B2C companies have perfected this business model, pairing a personalised experience with instantaneous delivery and driving continuous customer satisfaction. B2B companies, however, have been notoriously slower to catch on.

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The reality today is that customers want information and services immediately – whether that customer is a business or an individual consumer. Moving to the cloud can help companies provide their customers with a seamless digital experience, but to do it successfully, they need to ensure that the customer is at the core of their approach. Focusing on these areas can get you there:  

Create meaningful customer engagement smarte IT

The abundance of digital devices and communication channels have eliminated barriers to information, thus increasing consumers’ expectations of all brands. Needing to react to customers in real-time to stay competitive creates an even greater need for companies to adopt more efficient technology and processes. For many, transitioning to the cloud is seen as the easy solution. Yet most businesses often incorrectly approach a cloud implementation from a features and functionality perspective, focusing on the most granular of details instead of the bigger picture: the perspective of the customer.  The customer is interested in the speed and simplicity of their experience, and businesses need to think about all of the touchpoints — end-to-end interactions, re-engagement, follow-up, return business, cross-departmental service, etc. — that positively impact customer experience along the way. All these stages need to deliver a seamless customer experience with no issues or aggravations.

Agility and constant innovation

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More than half a century ago, the lifespan of a business was 61 years. Today, it’s only 18.  The current market is undeniably aggressive, and in order to stay competitive, businesses need to ensure they are agile enough to adapt to their current environment. Cloud computing has the capability and flexibility to manage technology changes and updates, and continually innovate in real time. In Bluewolf’s latest The State of Salesforce Report, 64% of companies surveyed released changes to their Salesforce instance at least monthly — a 20% jump from last year — plus, three times as many companies reported releasing at least weekly. As a business evolves, its primary needs are likely to change; companies are realising that  the speed and frequency at which they can innovate counts. The value of the cloud doesn’t end at the initial implementation; those that budget for continuous innovation will get the maximum value out of their investment.

Real-time data

It goes without saying that good, clean data is essential

It goes without saying that good, clean data is essential, but with an expected 87.9 billion consumer emails to be sent and received in 2015, how can businesses hope to rise above their competition and keep customers continuously engaged? Data is the lifeblood of the enterprise and quick access to the right data is crucial. Data access via the cloud allows context and insights from any device, enabling end users to make smarter day-to-day decisions, wherever they are. It also offers a single view of the customer across all departments. This empowers employees to take next best action in the moment and to focus their time on making the customer experience great.

In a 24/7 digital world, a seamless customer experience is what we as consumers desire and expect. In order to achieve this, businesses must avoid getting caught up in the nitty gritty or granular details of cloud technology and instead, put the customer’s needs at the forefront of this change.

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Vera Loftis, Managing Director UK, Bluewolf

Vera Loftis is Managing Director UK of Bluewolf, a global business consulting firm, and a go-to partner for the world's top brands to better engage with their customers. Vera oversees the rapid growth of Bluewolf's practice in the United Kingdom, leveraging technology to enhance customer knowledge, marketing ROI, analytical data, and collaboration.

Tweet Vera at @vera_loftis