Something is missing in many conversations small businesses have regarding moving their IT systems to the cloud:
A proper analysis of just how much they live in the cloud already.
We know the word “cloud” carries some connotations with it, whether positive or negative. For many SMEs the idea of moving everything entirely into the cloud is a scary proposition that shouldn't come quickly.
So why would we start these conversations with the wrong proposition? Instead of trying to convince people that they should move from one system to another, we need to change the framework to start talking about how they can enhance what they're already using.
Let's take a plumbing business, for example. Imagine it has a few staff members, and everything they use operates through the cloud.
They use cloud-based accounting software, their booking system is through the cloud, they have a GPS system in the cloud that tracks where all the staff are at any one time, and they automatically back up all their systems.
It's one thing to say to that business owner, “our cloud services are better for you”, or that they should start using more cloud-based services.
You might find they don't even necessarily consider that they live in the cloud already. So, emphasising that message isn't going to help: you haven't spoken to the core of their issue or problem.
In fact, it's amazing how many small businesses use cloud services without even knowing it.
They might use some sort of web-mail service like Gmail. They may have even used Google Docs, or Dropbox. For many business owners who aren't attuned to the technical definitions of particular products or services, they don't mentally check those as being in the “cloud”.
Instead, the specifics of these conversations become much more important.
Although half of all small businesses don't even have a website, it's incredibly difficult to find one that isn't using at least some sort of web or Internet-based service. Therefore it's crucial to start conversations with understanding where they are, and what they need to accomplish.
With the right knowledge and context, a conversation about a better Internet service would start with how much more reliable that service could be for their already existing cloud infrastructure.
Consider this type of list before a business would even consider moving:
Asking these types of questions enable you to have a much deeper, move involved and detailed conversation about their specific needs, instead of generic benefits that might not mean much to anyone.
Most of the main selling points for moving to cloud-based services are well-known by this point. Price, flexibility, lack of infrastructure cost...these are all built in. Instead, businesses need to be given selling points that actually speak to their pain points as an organisation.
Once the main points of a business have been identified, we can respond in the right way. Like with this:
Starting with price is not going to win any small business over when it comes to cloud services. Ultimately, what matters is the heart of their business: making it reliable, and understanding the pain points that could cause them to deliver a sub-par service.
Any conversations about Internet services, cloud-based products and reliability need to start where they already are. They've likely made more progress than you think.