5 ways cloud solutions can help boost efficiency
If you use cloud services, you already know how they can enable remote working with real time collaboration and help bolster your cyber security.
Cloud can offer much more. Here we explore five ways cloud innovations help your business improve efficiency and grow.
Communicate with customers on their terms
Cloud solutions can help you connect multiple customer channels to provide a consistent, responsive experience.
Customers want to communicate with businesses on their terms. They want answers to their questions quickly, but they also don't want to be bombarded with irrelevant information.
Yet, it can be challenging for smaller businesses to meet these expectations. How do you ensure you’re responsive and consistent, when you’re juggling a website, social media, third-party platforms, email, phone, and in-person contact?
Cloud-based communication solutions offer you the power to get to know your customer and the flexibility to manage interactions across all your channels. They offer tools to help make it easier for you to stay connected in ways that suit them.
Get to know your customers (and your business) better
Cloud-based data analytics tools can help you better understand and respond to customer behaviour.
For example, data can show when and where they most like to buy. Or where they hear about your products and services. You can then use this insight to prioritise marketing spend for the greatest impact on sales.
The more you communicate with customers, the more data you can gather about what they want. Cloud solutions offer the scale and power previously only available to big business to turn this data into insights.
You can also use business analytics tools to understand your own business better. For example, seeing how your cash-flow peaks and troughs throughout the year can help you plan.
Automate common workflows for a growth hack
Time is often the biggest barrier to business growth. You can’t add more hours to the day. But you can remove some routine, repetitive time-consuming tasks with automation.
One survey found that small businesses that use apps to automate important tasks have more time and energy to pursue growth. Here are some examples of automation in practice.
Business benefits of adopting automation
- Save time following up customer enquiries by automating responses.
- Speed through admin by sending invoices, appointment reminders and customer feedback forms automatically.
- Target the right people with the right marketing at the right time by connecting your database with your marketing platform.
- Analyse data quicker and easier by automating data transfers from point of sale systems to your business or marketing platforms.
Help your team to do their best work
Cloud services can help your team become more efficient with artificial intelligence and machine learning powered solutions.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning might sound like something from a sci-fi movie, but many cloud service providers are building them into their apps.
You can see artificial intelligence and machine learning in a variety of forms, from small suggestions to help with complex tasks.
Business benefits of cloud-based apps
- Find files and data faster. Cloud storage platforms recommend files based on what you are currently working on.
- Writing help. Ever needed something to break through writer’s block for your latest social media post? Or a little nudge in crafting that perfect email? The likes of Microsoft and Google are bringing AI into apps you use everyday to help with drafting, answering questions or finding information.
- Transcribe meeting notes or voice calls. Sometimes it’s useful to have a record of an important meeting or a customer call. Rather than type out the notes, use a cloud-based service to produce a transcription for you.
Help safeguard customer data
Australian small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are increasing targets for cyber criminals. Scamwatch data shows that small and micro businesses lost $13.7 million to scams in 2022, a 95 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Then there is also the potential for reputational damage on top of financial losses.
Cloud provides help to store and back up data more securely. Some cloud-based services also provide tools to help you manage your security.
Business benefits of cloud security
- Control access to the data on business devices with device management tools.
- Decide who can see and share data with system, folder and file level permissions
- Help reduce the risk of cyber criminals using leaked passwords to enter your systems with multi-factor authentication.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires two or more proofs of identity to grant users access to a system. These could be an email, SMS or fingerprint. The Australian Cyber Security Centre says MFA offers significantly more powerful security and protection to help against criminals, and businesses as well as individuals should implement MFA wherever possible.
These are just some of the ways you can get value from cloud services to help make your business more efficient, responsive and secure.
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