More and more businesses are moving their digital marketing automation and lead nurturing software to a cloud based system. The benefits of a cloud based system or software as a service (SaaS) over traditional system implementations are numerous and in this article I take a look at some of the main benefits cloud based solutions bring over their on premise counterparts.
Put simply, Cloud Computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers that are hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, instead of a local server or a personal computer. Software as a service (SaaS) is an alternative to the standard software installation in the business environment, where a user has to build the server, install the application and configure it themselves and a managed service provider does it for you.
Above all, a cloud-based solution is scalable and allows a marketer to tailor their campaign in real-time. Campaigns can be tweaked at the touch of a button. Messaging can be personalised easily and in real-time.
Organisations have understood the value of personalisation for some time, with many companies adopting simple concepts, such as targeting specific website promotions or email content towards pre-defined customer segments.
In the new mobile world, personalisation is not a feature but a customer expectation, and this expectation extends to being treated as a “me”, and not a “we”. “I am not a typical 35+ male, from London, who has opened a promotional email in the last week and purchase shoes in the last year; I am me, and I spend my money with the company who appreciates that.”
Other benefits of a cloud-based marketing solution include:
Flexibility: Modern digital marketing needs to be done in real-time and marketers need to make quick decisions using the data they have to hand. A cloud based system allows the flexibility to gather data quickly, from anywhere and respond to marketing challenges in real-time. It also allows companies to configure the software and implement changes to the shifting needs of their business.
Automatic updates: Once a software system has been set up, nobody wants to spend money, time and effort replacing parts of it or updating the software. The benefit of having a SaaS system is that updates and software changes are ‘pushed’ automatically to the system with minimal disruption to employees or the business.
Lower cost: SaaS based systems are cheaper than implementing a traditional system in a business because they are typically charged on a pay as you go basis, as opposed to buying an expensive system and paying of it all at once. This allows a company to keep tight control over its ongoing operating costs and gives SMEs a level playing field.
Increased collaboration: A cloud based system can be accessed from anywhere with a connection to the Internet and this increases the ability for teams to collaborate and encourages remote working. It also provides easy access to the same system for global companies to provide a similar system for all its offices around the world.
Scalability: As a company grows in size, a cloud based system can easily be upgraded and expanded to meet the needs of the company, whereas a traditional system would need extra resources to implement a larger version into the business.
Data recovery: With a cloud based system any data disaster can easily be rectified as everything is backed up on a remote server. So if a virus attacks the system or a hack compromises a business’s data, all the data can be recovered from an external source.
With businesses becoming more and more digitally focused and with the increased use of online technology to market to customers, we will see a greater number of businesses moving to a cloud based system over a traditional on-premises solution and the benefits are becoming more and more important to businesses.
The price of SaaS software and cloud computing will continue to drop and this will encourage more companies to implement it. With the ubiquity of the Cloud, continued innovation will follow and we will start to see some very clever things happening with SaaS models. All of a company’s data now lives on the Cloud, so we may see things such as a complete paperless office or entirely cloud-based HR systems. The future of the SaaS model looks to be very exciting and it will be interesting to see what happens next.
By Az Ahmed, Marketing Expert at SmartFocus.
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