Business Before vs. After the Cloud

Given how business has adapted to the convenience and the portability of cloud computing, it’s hard to remember how we did business in the B.C. (Before Cloud) era. But life and business really were different in those by-gone days. Customers and clients have come to expect the flexibility that cloud-embracing businesses provide.

Customers already know what they want.

In the B.C. era, customers might not know what they wanted or what was available. If someone wanted to buy a house, for example, he or she had to call a real estate agent to find out what was on the market in the target area. Savvy customers called more than one. Now, people looking for houses visit a variety of web sites to do their research before contacting a real estate agent.

Back then, some companies provided information through advertisements or through catalogs. Customers got a sense of what was available through these company-push offerings. While companies still use these means to communicate, along with new email and text alerts, customers use the cloud to research products and offerings they want. To keep pace, companies need robust cloud-based communications to ensure customers can research their business offerings.

Customers want to do business whenever they want.

Do you remember the term “banker’s hours”? In the olden days, businesses were open from nine to five on weekdays. Customers needed to make plans to make their purchases or conduct their needed transactions when companies were open.

Now, customers want to conduct their business whenever the need or mood strikes. Online stores are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (366 days a year on Leap Year). If a consumer gets a good gift idea at five o’clock in the morning, he or she can use a web site or mobile app to buy the item immediately and have it shipped for fast arrival. If someone burns the midnight oil working on a project, and discovers a software tool or professional service to make the job easier, he or she can request a demo or order a download immediately, often without dealing with salespeople.

Customers want to do business wherever they are.

Back in the twentieth century, customers had to come to you to conduct business. They visited a store, or they met with you over a conference table. Now, customers want to conduct business wherever they are. They want to use a mobile app at the coffee shop or their laptop at their kitchen tables. They want to buy your product, use your service, or communicate with you wherever they are and wherever you are.

Customers will evolve with the cloud.

The Internet and cloud computing continue to evolve. Customer experiences and expectations will also evolve according to new advances. Your company will need to keep up with these changes, too, to ensure that customers remain engaged with your offerings, and that your way of doing business does not become a relic of a bygone age.