Cloud Technology

How can Cloud Technology serve as that perfect driver of collaboration in the world of business?

In the ‘AGE OF TECHNOLOGY’ that we live in retailers and manufacturers for a long time have been using innovative ways to share data and collaborate as well as with the consumers. The collaboration generally includes trade planning, demand forecasting, open innovation and shared logistics. However, it has been found that for many companies even collaborating among themselves is a challenge, mainly because of organizational hurdles they face and complete lack of shared version of the truth with regards to performance data. As a result, many business leaders around the world have begun using Cloud to usher in the next wave of collaborative ideas and solutions in the world of business. To know more about how this technology serves as the perfect driver of collaboration in businesses please continue to read this article.

1. Use of Cloud Technology to stimulate Consumer Collaboration: 

In an era post, the ‘Digital Revolution’ most companies have always looked to study consumer sentiment through the use of typical traditional methods such as the use of focus groups, and surveys. Moreover, these days technology like Cloud provides companies with an opportunity to take collaboration with consumers to the next level mainly due to its simplicity in terms of usage, its low cost, and its ability to dramatically scale the length and depth engagement with customers. Furthermore, with regards to product development cloud technology helps in enabling consumers to get directly involved in decision making across the entire product lifecycle starting from ideation to packaging options and even in pricing. Additionally, online forums, social media sites, and even emails can be used by manufacturers and retailers to directly engage with consumers.

More importantly, cloud technology has empowered marketing departments in a company to create entire campaigns around content submitted by users online. For example, Frito-Lay in an attempt to create new potato chips catering to the taste of locals through the use of a Facebook app solicited consumer suggestions and then registered preferences on submitted flavours. This helped Frito-Lay in identifying the flavour and eventually rewarded the individual who provided the idea with a US 1 million dollar prize. Yet another example is Quirky an Internet-based company that collaborates with consumers to find, design, and manufacture new products. They do this by using digital user vote to chose the best product idea submitted by its global user community online. It is from one of those ideas then that a product is manufactured and inducted into the market for selling. In simple words, Quirky is using the cloud to extract value from within connections among business partners as well as customers.

2. The use of Cloud technology to help a business collaborate internally: 

 With the use of digital platforms developing at a rapid pace these days manufacturers and retailers have increasingly begun adopting cloud-based tools to collaborate internally across functional, organizational, and geographic boundaries. The intention to use such technology is basically to acquire benefits with regards to process efficiency and workforce productivity. More importantly, by using such applications a business can make use of innovations that are obtained by leveraging the best people and ideas available across an organization. At the moment, many consumer goods companies have reached the stage wherein they have begun using enterprise social media capabilities.

They have begun using internal social media platforms similar to Facebook and Twitter that are easily accessible via a web browser, and have been used to stimulate internal collaboration, file sharing, knowledge management, and ideation. On the other hand, social media tools have also been used to enable what is commonly referred to as “Communities of Practice” to help business users to connect with peers who can help them with questions regarding the system so that they can avoid unwanted calls, queues, and costs associated with IT help desks.

0art from social networking sites companies have begun looking to make use of cloud technology to monitor operational performances especially across vertically integrated and geographically distributed organizations. For example, Grupo Pao De Acucar the largest retailer in the whole of South America has been using cloud technology to measure the carbon impact on its retail and supply chains operations. It uses cloud-based platforms to record end-to-end greenhouse gas emissions that too across a vast 1,832 store network. Now, the increased use of such technology helps a company find alternative ways to reduce the harmful environmental impact on operations. It also simplifies the regulatory reporting process thereby eliminating the need for an external service provider. Although, the best feature of using cloud-based solutions is that it requires minimal infrastructure investment and can be easily be used by non-technical employees.

3. Cloud technology and its effective usage in Value Chain Collaboration:

When it comes to effectively using Cloud, expanded collaboration and data sharing among value chain partners are increasingly going to become the need of the hour. It must, however, be noted that solutions in this area are still at the nascent stage of evolution. In terms of benefits, many business leaders have shown optimism when it comes to using cloud-based process collaboration and data sharing among partners.

The major reason for this is simply the fact that expansive collaboration and sharing when used has shown to help companies in understanding better the true drivers of performances, thereby enabling them to become ultra-responsive to changes in consumer needs and behaviour, eventually leading to much better cost management, sales management, and increased productivity. A major consumer goods company and one of its strategic partners recently developed and conducted a pilot of a new and unique cloud-based business intelligence platform called C-Suite. Now, with the availability of such technology means a company is now able to share the data in a secure and neutral environment with users so that they get the exact picture of the performance across the value chain. It also by combining internal information such as volume, the amount spent on marketing and quality data from each company, along with external information such as market share, weather, GDP, and brand wealth measures, in presence of a common platform helps in achieving better, faster, and low-cost insights into the holistic business performance.

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