The transition to a digital-first cloud ecosystem was already on the books for businesses even before COVID-19, but the pandemic sure lit a fire under everyone’s behind. Cloud spending rose 37% during the first quarter of 2020, and is expected to grow exponentially. In fact, according to Gartner: “The proportion of IT spending that is shifting to cloud will accelerate in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, with cloud projected to make up 14.2% of the total global enterprise IT spending market in 2024, up from 9.1% in 2020.”
And there’s a great reason for that. Cloud ecosystems have proven to be agile, scalable, secure, and cost-effective. As many enterprises around the world are adapting to a work-from-home/office hybrid approach, cloud adoption is going to be the cornerstone for thriving post-pandemic.
But if you’re already using Oracle Cloud, then you’ve jumped on the bandwagon and you don’t need me to validate that decision for you. What you’re actually interested in is advice on where to go from here, and I’ve got you covered.
Here are tips on how to best leverage your cloud ecosystem to keep up with a rapidly changing digital landscape.
1. Obsess over building valuable relationships with your customers
When I was a pre-teen I could tell you what Avril Lavigne’s favorite food was, and I picked up skateboarding because I thought it would make her happy.
I use this sad little anecdote to illustrate what I mean by obsess over. Think of your customers as celebrities and your business as the superfan. Use the analytics and insights available to you to get to know your customers inside and out—what they want, what they don’t want, what they care about, what they don’t care about—and make business decisions that will make them happy. The two big data categories to consider here are industry verticals and use cases.
Customer behaviors and expectations have changed, but it wasn’t the same kind of change across the board. In order to efficiently identify customer journeys and develop solutions to address their pain points, you need to understand what that looks like within each industry vertical you serve. For example, retailers are primarily interested in creating a seamless e-commerce experience, but FinTechs are more concerned about offering digital security to their own clients. Your digital efforts should be a direct response to your customers’ needs.
How are your customers using your product or service now? How do you predict they will use it post-pandemic? And how do you want them to use it in the future? These are three very important questions to answer to identify what your customers value and to develop new use cases and tailored experiences based on the insight you gather, both for the immediate future, and beyond. It’s also a good opportunity for you to re-train your customers on how to interact with your business.
Using this data to drive business decisions will help you create more value for your customers and build better relationships with them. Focus on truly generating value instead of just making a sale. Hopefully, it’ll work out better than with me and Avril.
2. Augment your technology with external resources
According to McKinsey, businesses that have favored networks of mutually beneficial partnerships over closed systems and one-to-one transactional relationships have proved more resilient during the crisis. They’re also likely the ones who are going to experience the fastest, most painless growth post-pandemic.
Organizations that foster value creation with other partners benefit from the insights and expertise of each other, creating a shared learning environment that scales with the growth of either partner.
Even if your business does have the resources to build in-house tech solutions, there are many reasons why you should work with a partner instead.
It’s more flexible
Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Diversifying your tech stack creates flexibility and removes 100% dependency on the cloud service provider. The “one-stop-shop'' is no longer the status quo, and integrations are made to give businesses the ability to seamlessly assemble all the best solutions for their business needs. That flexibility and diversity mitigate the risks and help businesses scale with agility.
Your business will benefit from specialized expertise
There are companies that have made it their mission to create a solution that fits the very gap you have. They probably know more about it, and have way more technical expertise, than anyone at your organization. An external solution like that will work better for you than one built in-house.
External partners bring more to the table than closed ecosystems
It may sound like a good idea to stick to solutions provided by the cloud ecosystem you’re using but think of all the learning that you’re missing out on in that scenario. External partners have been developing a specific tech solution and testing it across multiple platforms. They’ve refined their work over and over with every exposure to a new system and a new industry. If that solution integrates seamlessly within the cloud ecosystem your business is using, then you are benefiting from lessons learned from multiple platforms, a wide variety of use cases, across different industry verticals.
The solution already exists
You absolutely don’t need me to bring up the old adage about “reinventing the wheel”, do you?
Creating strategic tech partnerships (especially between platforms where there previously was no integration) generates new insights that can lead to exciting business opportunities you’ve probably not considered before. These partner integrations also benefit your customers, who would later be able to leverage these tools to grow, which then increases their business with you, and the cycle goes on and on.
Speaking of epic partner integrations, I would be remiss not to call out Ada Glass for Oracle. Ada Glass seamlessly integrates our Ada chatbot with your Oracle ecosystem to simplify CX automation. This frees your agents for high-value moments that drive both CSAT and sales.
3. Automate where you can
Here’s a catchy one-liner for you: Automation is the future. And I don’t mean that in a “robots are taking our jobs” kind of way. I mean that in a “humans are complex and intelligent and should be handling complex, intelligent work” kind of way.
No, scratch that: Automation is already here, especially within this remote work ecosystem, and it’s time you embrace it wholeheartedly. Different departments are automating manual, repetitive tasks to free up their time for more analytical work that only the human brain can design.
For example, using collaboration tools to automate menial project management tasks across several teams has been a lifesaver for work-from-home employees to sync and stay on top of their workload. Finding which integrations can address your organization’s specific automation needs is a fairly straightforward way of increasing efficiency while making your employees happier.
4. Empower your agents to focus on cultivating customer relationships
When businesses move to digital arenas, repetitive and mundane customer support inquiries drain time and energy out of the agents. This is also true for growing businesses who are seeing an exponential increase in support tickets.
Many businesses are solving the problems by growing their CS team, but scaling at an enterprise level is harder to maneuver.
Here’s where we go back to automation. Automating FAQs helps them focus on complex or more urgent issues. It also gives them the time and space to focus on cultivating customer relationships and adding genuine value through support.
The decisions you’re making today, and the ways you’re currently utilizing your cloud ecosystem, will decide if your business will thrive in a post-pandemic world. The three main keys are:
- Obsess over your customers: Use data and insights to build valuable customers relationships
- Augment your technology with external resources: Form strategic partnerships and benefit from a shared expertise
- Automate where you can: Automation will keep your business nimble, help you scale, and make your employees happy
- Empower your agents to focus on cultivating customer relationships. When your support agents aren’t drowning in menial FAQ, they can do the good work of building real connections with the customer.