According to a survey of over 600 organizations issued by really simple systems, 56% of companies are using a Cloud CRM system (compared to 45% this time last year); 72% of respondents claimed to have more confidence generally than a year ago; and 80% of indicated Cloud solutions require less IT support. Only 15% of respondents (commercial) admitted to still having reservations regarding adoption of cloud systems, a decrease of 8% from last year’s figures. What does all of this mean? The confidence in cloud solution adoption, at least in the private sector, is clearly on the rise (source: www.businesscloud9.com).
In the same article, John Paterson, CEO of Really Simple Systems, said: “With many advantages in the reduction of IT overheads, the removal of any system maintenance burden, low capex and the fact that cloud systems offer business-critical information readily available at all times, from any computer with internet connectivity to provide more flexible working across the business, Cloud solutions continue to grow in popularity as business requirements and attitudes continue to evolve.”
Now let’s look at a major CRM provider. The Salesforce.com web site lists some of the largest names in the private sector as users including: NBCUniversal, KLM, Asics, Wells Fargo, Kimberly-Clark and many, many others. In fact, according to Salesforce, sales cloud is the number-one selling application in the world. Practically all of the Fortune 100 companies use this application, if not globally, then in certain office locations. Even GTSI relies on Salesforce.com for our CRM solution.
Aaahh, but when will we see the same kind of adoption from the public sector? Email and collaboration are two of the hottest areas for cloud growth in the public sector, and yet, in recent months, only two agencies have made decisions concerning transition in these areas (Interior announcing that they will be using Google and DOT announcing that they will go with Microsoft). If we can’t get more agencies to move to the cloud with email and collaboration, how will they ever join their private sector comrades in successfully using cloud-based CRM?
The truth is that cloud first initiatives undertaken by federal agencies so far are even worse than we thought. Of the 78 packages submitted to OMB, which required agencies to document their cloud first initiatives, only two stated that they will be using cloud for test and development, which everyone in industry considers the poster child for public IaaS cloud. Once again I ask: If we cannot get agencies to move to test and development in the cloud, how will we get them to move more serious applications like CRM to the public cloud?
My recommendation is that OMB take a tough stance on these agencies and enforces the cloud first policy by making agencies re-submit their budgets with a more aggressive look into the use of cloud. This seems to be the only way that we can get agencies to save money and improve services in an age of looming budget cuts. True, cloud is not the be-all, end-all of IT. No one should go into the cloud thinking that it can solve all of their IT woes; it can’t. But cloud is a useful tool that should be evaluated for services in this age of pending budget cuts – we have seen too many examples of how cloud has helped agencies save money and increase services delivery.