Businesses of all sizes, in all industries and spanning all geographies are increasingly adopting cloud services to accelerate business growth. Much of this is led by the need to digitally transform (DX) businesses to remain relevant and competitive. It is important to note that digital transformation is no longer a fancy term, but a strategic business decision to ensure business continuity and ongoing prosperity in a world where the digital economy rules.
DX is driving businesses to rethink their technology strategy, and that includes considerations beyond their legacy ERP and back-office systems. The majority of IT spend today is on SaaS and cloud-enabled ERP, as organisations need a flexible, agile ERP system that is reliable, expandable, easily configurable and with regular automatic updates. According to a report by Gartner, “SaaS remains the largest segment of the public cloud market in India, with revenue expected to reach US$932 million in 2018, an increase of 34 percent year over year.” With the race to get the bigger share of the pie, speed to market is key and achieved with the most up-to-date and advanced systems as found in SaaS and cloud-based ERP systems. This enables growing businesses to quickly expand into new regions and new markets around the globe without making major investments in their ERP infrastructure.
India has been quick in adopting DX – which has been boosted with government’s Digital India program. According to IDC, almost half of IT spending in India will be cloud-based this year, “reaching 60 percent of all IT infrastructure and 60-70 percent of all software, services and technology spending by 2020.” The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.3 percent in 2019 to total $206.2 billion, up from $175.8 billion in 2018, according to Gartner. This year the market will grow 21 percent, up from $145.3 billion in 2017 with cloud computing services in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 22 percent from 2015 through to 2020.
It is therefore critical, where DX leads the way, that Customer Experience (CX) is top of mind when embarking on change. The question is – How can businesses manage rapid growth while maintaining customer satisfaction and brand loyalty?
There are four tactics that companies can leverage to ensure that they achieve their business objectives whilst retaining a high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Define purpose and fuel organic growth
Businesses must start with defining their purpose, and how their current brand proposition supports their expansion plans. Once everyone is on board, there are some short-term, organic growth boosters to pursue. For instance, businesses can start by trimming overheads and boost sales to existing customers through cross sell and upsell opportunities.
Forge strong partnerships
Another very good option to gain market share is to forge partnerships with larger organisations. This offers immediate access to existing retail networks, supply chains and a well-established customer base. The most successful partnerships negotiate cross-selling, exclusivity arrangements, logistics, staffing and other customer service essentials. Where possible, every partnership should seek to maintain control over brand identity.
Standardise processes and centralise on a platform
Expansion comes with a host of unknowns. Where will you find staff? What are the new regulations and laws? How can I create desire for our product so customers want it? Previously, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) systems were only in reach of big companies, however, the cloud has democratised access, and given smaller businesses a leg up on much larger competitors held back by legacy on-premise systems.
When it comes time to expand, having standardised processes on a cloud-based platform allows you to run your processes the same way, regardless of where business is located. It provides best practices for repeatable infrastructure when entering new markets, as well as end-to-end visibility across operations.
Cloud-based software, with its scalability, agility and low total cost of ownership, empowers businesses to manage growth on their own terms. By enabling the automation of tedious manual tasks like tax compliance, multi-currency transactions, and more, it can ease some major barriers to entering international markets.
With end-to-end visibility across operations, executives have easy access to data to make insight-driven business decisions on how and where to grow. For instance, robust reporting allows you to regularly compare financial data from different stores or channels to identify trends that might impact long-term growth, such as cash flow or liquidity. Data from the ERP and supply chain platforms can help drive actionable sales opportunities, personalise marketing outreach to drive greater loyalty from customers, and increase customer satisfaction by helping ensure accurate inventory levels and streamlining logistics.
With a cloud-based platform as their foundation, new product introduction and international growth is within the reach of small businesses, which can leverage technology to out-innovate much larger competitors.
The author, Rakesh Jaitly is General Manager and Senior Sales Director at Oracle NetSuite, India.