Want to Sell More Cloud? Sell Efficiency.1 Jul, 2014 By: HK Bain
Are you concerned about business productivity and process efficiency? You’re not alone! Most leaders see efficiency as a perennial business goal, and they are constantly seeking to improve. Improved productivity is a critical success factor for today’s businesses, because we’re all trying to accomplish more with fewer available resources than ever before. The cloud is often viewed as a productivity enhancer for IT, but it can enhance productivity across the enterprise as well. Ironically, focusing on improving productivity may also enhance your ability to sell cloud services to executive buyers as you position your offerings to meet their needs.
Selling Productivity to Executives
As the technology marketplace has evolved over the last twenty years, we’ve seen IT leadership shift away from the position of CIO to a Director of IT/Shared Services who reports to the CFO. When CIOs left the executive team, they lost significant buying power, which means that people who sell technology shouldn’t be selling to IT anymore. Where do we go instead?
The ability to buy still resides in the executive suite, but in most cases executives do not care about technology for technology’s sake. What they do care about is improving business outcomes and achieving business goals such as productivity. How important is productivity on the list of top executive concerns? McKinsey & Company reports that improving business processes/efficiency is the number one concern of business leaders in 2014. . So, the trick for VARs who sell cloud services, is to position their offerings in terms of business goals, and the cloud offers significant productivity benefits.
Real Stories of Cloud Efficiency
As you think about cloud services improving productivity, IT processes are a natural fit. It’s true that cloud can cut the expense of managing company networks and systems. However, the productivity benefits of cloud can extend far beyond IT to touch virtually any aspect of your business. Two such examples are 1) the productivity benefits derived from combining similar business functions from multiple disparate company locations into a single, centralized team, and 2) the efficiency recognized when routine processes and access to data are simplified.
Combining Similar Functions from Disparate Locations
Since 1915, Commercial Metals Company (CMC) has manufactured, recycled, and marketed steel and metal products and related materials and services through a network including steel mini-mills, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, metal recycling facilities and marketing and distribution offices in the United States and in strategic international markets. CMC rolled 3.5 million tons of steel in 2013 with more than 9,000 employees. The company earned just under $7 billion in annual revenues last year.
In 2008, CMC created a Shared Services department with the goal of streamlining operations and centralizing AP operations. Alberto Centeno, Director of Shared Services, was quickly inundated with an overload of paper business records, so his goal was to implement a system that would simplify records management and streamline the flow of information into the centralized team. He chose a cloud-based service to centralize record keeping. The system allows AP departments at more than 150 locations to input information into the cloud system from their locations, and then the centralized team accesses that same information to process everything. The implementation allowed CMC to capture annual savings of $1.6 million by reducing the cost of processing each invoice by $3.10, and they have reduced department headcount by nine while accommodating a 100% increase in the number of records they receive as they company grows. Alberto Centeno, Director of Shared Services explains that the use of the cloud-based service has decreased purchase order processing time by 33% and is saving each location more than 125 hours of productivity every month.
Streamlining Data Sharing and Control for Routine Processes
Cloud services can also speed standard business processes like human resources or customer service as well. Consider Two Rivers Financial Group (TRFG), parent company of Two Rivers Bank & Trust. Established in 1904, TRFG serves more than 350 clients in Iowa. They manage more than 2.5 million records for their customers and receive about 5,000 new documents every week. When they managed all these records on paper and in an elaborate filing system, employees had to search the file room each time an inquiry was made, from bank balances to loan status. To complicate matters, the bank has many branches that were trying to share a single paper-based records source.
They implemented cloud-based Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and have eliminated 60% of those paper files. The cloud service allows multiple branches to instantly access records using keyword search, and improves the ability of TRFG to keep sensitive information under control. This cloud service has improved staff productivity by 80%! They process loan applications more quickly and have improved customer service.
“Now that we have ImageSilo®, we log in and it’s just simple. We don’t spend any time in the file room anymore. When we didn’t have document management in place, a document would get thrown in the file room and it was in there for eternity. Using ImageSilo definitely equates to more productivity for our employees,” said Aaron Baltisberger, VP of Commercial Lending.
Where does your cloud offering improve productivity for your clients?
Remember, business executives don’t buy technology. They buy the accomplishment of business objectives, and efficiency is one of the top concerns plaguing executives in 2014. The cloud offers business efficiencies by centralizing geographically disparate processes into a single, central repository, and it can improve local business processes by automatically routing information and tracking key milestones and decision points. Figure out how your offerings improve business productivity. Reposition the way you’re selling your cloud offerings to focus on these productivity benefits. The sales will follow.
About Digitech Systems, Inc.
Digitech Systems, Inc. enables businesses of any size to more effectively and securely manage, retrieve and store corporate information of any kind using either PaperVision Enterprise content management (ECM) software or the world’s most trusted cloud ECM service, ImageSilo. By significantly reducing the cost, Digitech Systems has moved ECM from a luxury convenience to an essential element for every well-managed business.
Digitech Systems continues to raise the standard of excellence in the ECM sector, as evidenced by the numerous awards they have received including the InfoWorld 100, CRN’s Emerging Tech Dynamos and multiple Nucleus Research ROI Awards. In addition, Buyer’s Lab recognized PaperVision® Capture as the Outstanding Enterprise Capture Product for 2012. To learn more about the company’s software and services that deliver any document, anywhere, anytime, visit www.digitechsystems.com.
 Khan, N. and Sikes, J. (2014) “IT under pressure: McKinsey global survey results.” McKinsey & Company. March 2014