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Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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Time Isn’t Money, Information Is: Harness Cloud Computing To Maximize Your Data.

The most common thing people look for when moving to a new business solution is the desire to increase productivity. We all believe this.

Usually productivity in our minds equals better use of time. If we can save 30 minutes a day for our employees it will be worth the investment. If we have a system in place to get rid of this busy work it’s going to really open up a lot of time and opportunity. Just imagine what we can achieve with an extra two and a half hours a week from each employee!

Somewhere along the line, the software vendors convinced us that this is the way to make our business better. The goal, they said, is to increase productivity half an hour at a time. On one level I agree completely. Saving time is great! It’s why we buy the better copy machine, fix the elevator and order delivery Chinese during crunch time. But when it comes to instituting a whole new system, is time saving the most crucial element for your business? Before you drop $100 per user per month on some new CRM solution, ask yourself if that makes sense given the value proposition. Is it true? Is time money? I say no.

We’re moving in a new direction these days. Productivity isn’t measured in hours, it’s measured in information. That age old adage “time is money” doesn’t hold the same weight as yesteryear. Time isn’t money. data is money. Time savers are a dime a dozen – outsourcing, to-do lists, mass emailers – those are easy to adopt and economical solutions that save you time.

Completely re-inventing your business workflow and practice just to save some time seems not only costly, but low-reward. SaaS vendors are all too happy to suggest that time saving is the number one selling point – the game changer in business today. The CRM sector is most guilty of this. There are too many SaaS CRMs that offer almost no new value from an excel file or whiteboard and rolodex.

Cloud computing vendors have the opportunity to utilize a powerful collaborative framework, emerging trends and technology to offer us systems that allow our employees to make better decisions during the work day. What would you rather have: A sales rep who busts his butt all day and lands a few deals worth $2,000, or a sales rep who flexes her information pool for 10 minutes and brings in $20,000?

The best business systems are the ones that give you perspective – not just new information, but pertinent information that helps you make more money.

There’s always time to hop on the newest productivity trend (let’s see how long Gantt Charts last in the new era) but if you’re going to plunk down money for a new system make sure it’s an upgrade that keeps the goal in sight. Business is about generating money, not saving time. The next time you evaluate SaaS software ask yourself (and the vendor) where their priorities are.

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More Stories By Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.