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Losing Yourself In The Clouds

Buzzword Alert: Cloud Computing

August 9, 2010
ask yourself the question is the cloud working for you or are you working for the cloud?
Cloud computing is hot right now. It’s so hot you have companies like IBM running ads telling you all the marvelous things you can do with their cloud.

As many of you know, GeekPAK isn’t just a web development company, we’re not just a CMS, but we also have over 15 years of brand and marketing experience. The purpose of this article is to look at how the technical cloud could be doing very real damage, not just to your technical plans, but more importantly your brand.

First, consumers and customers don’t care if you are in the cloud or standing on terra firma. They want what they need, and they want it now. Whatever solution works for them is a good solution and in many cases the cloud can provide some real options.

However, when you start to transition to cloud based services you can hit a few stumbling blocks. Each of these may seem like a small thing taken by themselves, but when taken together they pose a real risk.

1. Losing Control in the Cloud
Control here includes control of your data, control of the experience, and control of the features. If you can’t do precisely what your business needs, you start to lose brand cohesion. Suddenly you look a little less like you and you work a little more like somebody else.

2. Losing Your Brand in the Cloud
Brand is so much more than your logo and corporate colors. It’s a feel, it’s how you work, it’s how your customers experience you. When you have limited control you have limited brand impact. Even if you can get the cloud to deliver the service you need, do your customers recognize that it’s you who is providing the service?

3. Losing Your Focus in the Cloud
As soon as department A, staff member B, and work group C go off and do their own thing in the cloud, your organization starts to lose focus. What are they doing? Who is doing it? Where are they doing it? Do you know where that is? How does it fit with what you are trying to accomplish as an organization? Do your customers even know where all of these various cloud based tools reside?

4. Losing Your Audience in the Cloud
CRM (customer relationship management) is crucial. Getting someone to engage with your organization is much more difficult than it seems. When your users engage with you in the cloud, do you know who they are? Can you get back to them at a later date? Can you reach out to them with another tool or communication method beyond what this cloud app provides? How much of your audience is in cloud 1, cloud 2, cloud 3? How do you cross match and identify who is who? Finally, when that particular cloud app you invested so much time in goes away, where does your cloud audience go?

5. Losing Your Impact, Time and Money in the Cloud
I know that many cloud apps are free, and that’s what makes them so irresistible, but you spend the same amount of effort and time in the cloud as you would in your own space, but what impact do you actually have? Over time, your time will outweigh any investment in developing your own tools and systems, but your time contributes to the success and data store of your chosen cloud provider, not necessarily to your organization.

The cloud can be a powerful ally for your business, but before you invest valuable time in services you can’t control, think about what it will do to your business, your brand, and your audience. If it’s not mission critical then the cloud could be a valuable test environment, but ask yourself the question is the cloud working for you or are you working for the cloud?

CRM Customer Relationship Management involves managing relationships with current, former and prospective customers. The web is one of your primary contact points with your customers. Shouldn’t your website be a part of your CRM strategy? At GeekPAK we think it should, which is why we built our CMS from the ground up to do just that.
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