Is Cloud the Future of Pricing Software? Yes, Here Are 6 Reasons Why.
By next year, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud. Its growth since its inception has been staggering. It has worked its way into every corner of our personal and professional lives, and, as such, cannot be ignored by businesses in any industry or of any size.
The term ‘cloud’ was coined just 13 years ago, and yet “…we can expect cloud computing to quickly evolve, and become so ubiquitous, that the concepts we label as ‘cloud’ will simply be known as ‘computing’.”
Companies must wake up to the powerful potential the cloud brings to processes, workflows, resources, data and the customer experience.
If you’re lagging behind for fear this is going to turn out to be just another costly trend or more hassle than it’s worth, here is some food for thought.
1. You’ll Save Money in the Cloud
Going on-premise requires huge upfront and not-insignificant ongoing costs to maintain the status quo. You need a server to house your software. And they are expensive. A server is for life, not just for Christmas. Many a server-owner will tell you – it needs space, cooling, maintenance, security, insurance and specialists to look after it. They are hungry little beasts that eat your time and money. And the software is going to need in-house maintenance, major upgrades, and inconvenient fixes, so your IT people will become 24/7 firefighters.
With cloud solutions, you’re paying monthly (or annually) on a pay-as-you-go basis. There are no scary upfront costs nor wasted time and money looking after hungry monsters requiring maintenance and upgrades (these are handled by the vendor automatically and with minimal disruption to you). So, your money and time is now going into something more profit-making. Your IT team can start taking a more strategic and creative role within the organization, and a more predicable budget can have a positive impact that cascades throughout the company.
As Mike Curtis, ex-Airbnb VP of Engineering, points out, the cloud enables companies to “focus as much as possible on the things that are unique to their business, not running a ton of infrastructure”.
2. You’ll Always Be Right-size at Right-cost
Like puberty, scaling is just a fact of life for any business. And there are three kinds that, no doubt, you are already familiar with:
Vertical scaling (scaling up) means increasing the capacity of your current infrastructure by adding more power (CPU, RAM) to it. Horizontal scaling (scaling out) means adding more machines to your current infrastructure. And Diagonal scaling is a versatile mix of vertical and horizontal scaling which is more cost-effective than either of the other two options in isolation and just so happens to be a specialty of the cloud. You grow vertically within your existing infrastructure until you hit a tipping point, then you automatically start expanding your infrastructure horizontally.
A struggle with on-premise solutions is that you need to be over-provisioned to be available for any unpredicted spikes. But overprovisioning is a major leak to your budget you can ill afford. And to grow in any direction is time-, labor- and cost-intensive.
In the cloud, your business is instantly scalable. Both up and down. It’s on-the-fly reactive to your actual needs. So, you’re ready for that opportunistic spike you didn’t see coming, but back to normal once it all calms down. And you’re only ever paying for what you actually use.
This kind of scalability is essential for businesses, especially those experiencing (or hoping to experience) rapid growth.
3. You’ll Be Agile and Innovative
To remain competitive in this rapidly-evolving technological landscape, companies have to be innovative. Falling behind is like falling asleep at the wheel.
Agility is a key ingredient in any business nowadays as being able to test fast, fail fast and test again is essential. As is reacting to the real-world market with real-time speeds.
Allow the cloud to catalyze your innovation.
If your employees are bogged down by a sluggish, clunky or non-interconnected system, there is no way you can reach your business’s full potential. If data is siloed, and workflows involve copy and paste, emailing and multiple version of the truth, collaboration is a joke. If executive visibility is blurred and company decisions are based on more-or-less figures, you’re the very definition of ‘falling behind’.
Moving towards cloud-based efficiency means your staff can spend their time on more constructive elements of your core business, problem solving is effective, productivity is increased and creativity is unleashed. There’s no better way to run a business or engage your customers than from a place of control, insight, and creativity.
4. You’ll Be Moving Forward Fearlessly
Change is scary. Better the devil you know, they say. But the devil you know is watching its competitors whizz past at envy-inducing speeds and then calling in a pitiful voice after its customers as they follow behind.
Fearing the unknown means keeping your eyes closed and curling up in a ball on the floor. Not the best way to do business.
Thanks to the innate agility and hybrid nature of cloud solutions, you’re free to dip your big toe into the cloud and take it out again. Flexible pricing, modular structure, and rapid deployment means you can test a bit of cloud software on one area of your business and see what you think.
No need to throw your entire organization into the sky hoping a cumulus catches it. You can migrate in a piecemeal fashion, retaining some apps on-premise, while running others in the cloud. There are countless potential configurations to suit all companies that want a hybrid setup. And the cloud industry as a whole is focused on increasing the ability for integration between cloud-based apps, forming a seamless tapestry of interconnected, compatible apps within a single cloud-based environment.
Cloud-native solutions (like Pricefx) are rapidly integrated into existing cloud-based and on-premise legacy systems. It is an entirely painless process.
5. You’ll Be in an Open Relationship with Your Software Provider
What you’ve always wanted. All the love, sex, and lazy Sunday mornings, but none of the questions about why you’re home late or whether you really need that extra hash brown.
It’s no wonder on-premise customers get jittery about vendor lock-in, for them it’s a crippling reality. They carefully choose a vendor for their sophisticated features and reasonable price, and then the ‘superior’ support leaves them wanting, or they’re charged a fortune for infrequent and disruptive upgrades! But the initial investment (costs, dependency, in-house skills) means they’re stuck with them.
Vendor-lock in is not a thing in the cloud. You can window shop, have one-night stands, on-again-off-again relationships, or get serious with software and you’re still never locked in. It’s a major advantage of being in the cloud, and cloud vendors know it, using it as a competitive advantage by making it easy to dump them.
The cloud industry as a whole is showing a new commitment to openness and this means they’re on their toes running around to make sure you’re satisfied and treating you like the king or queen every customer should be.
6. You’ve Got Machine Learning on Your Side
For years, machine learning was out of reach for all but the world’s biggest companies. Even if you were rich enough to afford the hardware, you would still be hard-pressed to find employees sufficiently skilled to create anything of value.
The cloud has democratized machine learning, saving and creating fortunes by identifying patterns in data and making incredibly accurate predictions. It makes customer lifetime value modeling, churn modeling and customer segmentation a reality for businesses of all sizes.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Machine learning in a pricing platform, for example, means intelligent and dynamic pricing: analyzing every conceivable product option, configuration, upsell, upgrade, cross-sell, bundle, lead time, stock volume, regulation, and compatibility issue before quoting the optimum price to each customer.
Get your on-premise solution to do all that!
Better the Devil You Know?
Another costly trend? Don’t think so.
More hassle than it’s worth? Only if you’re not interested in reaching your company’s full profit potential.
Moving your processes to the cloud brings agility, scalability, and innovation. It improves collaboration, visibility, and accuracy with machine-learned insights and real-time reflexes. You’re never locked in but you’re always in total control. You’re ready for anything, but never overspending. It’s cost-effective, flexible, secure… and nothing beats whizzing past your competitors at envy-inducing speeds and hearing their pitiful cries.