This could be the way to better manage your data.
Ah, the cloud—that soft, fuzzy space whereby servers are accessed, almost magically, over the internet. By using cloud computing, users and companies do not need to manage physical servers or run software applications on their machines. Software and databases run via in-cloud servers in data centers all over the world.
An increase in customer data has been one side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations of all sizes are grappling with more data than ever before. While this information can become a powerful tool for attracting new customers and improving operations, it can only be done with the proper tools in place to effectively manage the exploding volume and help dealers find the value they’re looking for within it. Cloud-based technology enables small and medium-sized businesses to effectively manage their data by housing it in one central location and letting authorized stakeholders access it from any internet-connected device.
If you’re not already playing in the cloud, the question is: Can using the cloud help your dealership more effectively manage its business data? The answer probably is a resounding yes, according to Brian Bowerfind, president of ECI’s global office products and contract furniture division. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, ECI provides cloud-based business management software solutions.
“SMBs have embraced cloud technology over the past few years,” said Bowerfind, whose clients leverage data as a competitive tool to improve processes, create efficiencies, and gain valuable insights. “While the pandemic was hard on many dealers, it was easier for those running in the cloud,” he asserted. “These dealers were able to run their businesses and access their data remotely and with ease.”
Following the height of the pandemic, many companies in the office products (OP) industry bounced back stronger due to their adoption of a robust data strategy, which is equally applicable to document-imaging dealers.
Finding Value in the Data
Bowerfind explained that data is one of the most valuable resources for any organization, “especially business-solution dealers who need to find strategic ways to compete with the big-box retailers.” But how can they uncover the value they need?
“With the right type of data and analysis, dealers can gain powerful insights into their existing and potential customers to improve those relationships and reach new audiences,” he said. “For example, easily accessible customer-analytics dashboards can help a dealer see which high-volume customers have recently slowed purchasing and [may] warrant a direct call from a sales or company executive.” This data allows organizations to find better ways to:
Engage with customers
Make business decisions with confidence
Inform future planning
Implementing a successful data strategy can start with identifying key problems you are trying to solve. “Map out where those touchpoints can be found, then develop a standardized tracking and measurement process,” advised Bowerfind.
“This is not a one-time action that can be crossed off a list,” he stressed. “Being data-driven is a continuous journey, and data only becomes more valuable when you are able to compare it to historical records and map progress back to where you started.”
Taking it to the next level, cloud-enabled solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can help SMBs manage their data even more effectively by preventing duplicate entries in disparate databases, monitoring quality and accuracy, and preventing unnecessary costs or downtime. So, in reality, cloudy practices could have a bright, sunny effect on your business’s bottom line.
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