CIOs: How to Make Your Mark with SaaS Solutions
By Ray Grady, Executive Vice President of CloudCraze
Forrester estimates that 53 percent of buyers expect to make more than half of their business purchases online by 2018. This means CPG, Manufacturing and Distribution companies must rapidly harness digital tools to deliver new products, capabilities and systems.CIO’s and CTO’s should view this as an opportunity to transform their companies via digital and eCommerce.
As the top technology executives, CIOs have traditionally maintained focus on back-end office systems. But the trend towards online commerce has given way to many CIOs shifting focus on the front office by harnessing, SaaS, CRM-based tools that better serve customers. These technologies are more agile, which means they have a faster speed to market and can be iterated over time to meet customer needs. More specifically, CIOs looking to make their mark can achieve the following results from an agile, scalable SaaS platform:
• Produce the immediate win
At some point within the first three to four months, new CIOs must make a positive change within the organization to make their mark. That means producing immediate wins and measurable performance gains. However, it’s nearly impossible to see results this quickly when relying on back-end, ERP-based commerce systems that can take over a year to implement.
The speed to market with a CRM-based commerce solution is exponentially faster. In some cases, these solutions can be deployed in weeks and can start producing positive revenue and productivity results almost immediately.
• Stay competitive in a global environment
They say old habits die hard. For CIOs, this means shifting away from traditional on-premise systems. These systems are too inflexible to allow for changes that can keep a business as competitive as possible.
CIOs looking to make innovative changes should embrace agile SaaS platforms that allow for quick pivots and fast deployment. This way, companies can keep up with competition and meet the ever-changing needs of business buyers.
• Be cost effective
All businesses want to become more cost effective, presenting CIOs with an opportunity to make their mark by saving money without compromising quality. One of the best ways to cut digital costs is by using a SaaS-based platform for commerce instead of on-premise systems.These systems are less expensive to implement and maintain in the long term. In fact, for each dollar a company invests in a typical on-premise system, at least 44 cents go toward IT infrastructure costs, like configuring servers and other equipment or licensing, and building a database. Companies using cloud-based SaaS systemshave none of these costs.
• Give customers what they want right now
Business buyers today are used to the popular B2C shopping experiences. They have high expectations for businesses when it comes to digital commerce platforms, and very little patience for clunky sites that do not meet their complex buying needs.
SaaS systems are flexibleand easy to iterate based on customer feedback. If buyers need unique ordering capabilities, businesses canaccommodate quickly to ensure that customers do not turn to competitors. By contrast, on-premise systems take years to update features and functionality, while requiring heavy coding and customization. By then, your customers have moved on to a different brand or are worried about something new.
In a digitally-driven age, you will lose customers if you cannot provide them with the tools they need to engage anywhere, on any device and make a purchase. Companies that embrace agile, CRM-based commerce systems will not only keep up with customer needs, but they’ll predict the wants and needs of their customers based on one consolidated view of their on and offline activities.