Four Tips for a Successful Cloud Migration and CRM Implementation for Small Businesses

According to Giacom World Networks CEO Mike Wardell, migrating your company’s workload to the cloud doesn’t have to be a hassle. In his recent feature in IT Pro Portal, Wardell offered four tips based on his extensive experience running one of the UK’s top Cloud Distributors that, improve your chances of a successful migration and digital transformation.

Step 1: Identify the Platform Best Suited for Your Organization

Numerous factors weigh into the decision to select either Office 365, G Suite, or another productivity suite entirely, according to Wardell. Chief among them are the desire to continue using Microsoft productivity applications on the desktop, ensuring files are stored securely in the cloud, and assuring email access is easy, flexible, and scalable.

Wardell credits Office 365’s dominance in the cloud productivity space – now more than 120 million business users worldwide – to the ubiquity of Microsoft Office applications and people’s familiarity with using Excel, Word, and PowerPoint in the workplace.

“Despite modern file transferring tools such as Dropbox, WeTransfer, OneDrive and Acronis Files Cloud, many people continue to send each other files over email, created locally with Microsoft apps, as that’s what feels familiar,” he explained. “Choosing Office 365 allows teams to hit the ground running by working collaboratively online with easy editing options. Plus, it also offers more advanced virus protection and rights management functionalities.”

On the other hand, small businesses that elect G Suite tend to favor its born-in-the-cloud personal and team productivity tools. Typically, these businesses do not need to transition to the cloud, since they’ve been part of a cloud network from the start.

“If their business grows at an extraordinary pace, however, they may feel the need to transition to the Office 365 productivity suite, which promotes generous file storage and email storage packages compared to the G Suite entry level plan,” he added.

2. Map Time & Resources To Launch Successfully

“The more intricate the cloud architecture, the less likely the migration will be successful” is a truism among cloud migration experts. To minimize complexity and the risk of compromising data during a migration, Wardell recommends factoring time and resource requirements into the project, as well as where and when to implement the project in order to mitigate potential impacts on the business.  

Wardell provides specific recommendations regarding whether a CutOver Migration vs an IMAP Migration strategy could work better for you, when to use a third party email migration tool, and how to choose the most appropriate cloud resource in his post.

3. Develop One Simple System for Teams to Share Data

For Microsoft customers that have legacy CRMs, Giacom recommends migrating to Microsoft Dynamics 365: “It combines CRM and ERP into one solution and is a step in the right direction for companies that want to use ERP in a limited capacity, or as an integrated business management solution that includes Office 365, Outlook, and Power BI for reporting.” 

However, as Wardell explained, Dynamics 365 is not a self-starter CRM kit for businesses. “In cases where Dynamics feels too complex or expensive, especially to businesses that conduct their contact relationships via email and retain customer information on spreadsheets, we recommend Nimble CRM,” he added.  

“It’s a social CRM that runs inside Office 365, Outlook or G-Suite email, contacts and calendars, social media platforms and mobile applications. Nimble unifies contact data and engagement history from disparate systems into a single system of record with socially enriched profiles that are easily accessible across team members, channels and platforms.” 

4. Facilitate Organizational Wide Adaptation

Ultimately, the success of a cloud migration isn’t in the promised technical functionality. Rather it’s how the organization reacts and adapts to it: “A migration that addresses end user pain points, in addition to providing help desk support with a fully managed service, stands the best chance of enabling a successful workplace transformation.”

A case in point is Nimble. Its “80% end user adoption rate attests to the intrinsic value business teams see in fixing deep-rooted contact management issues,” he said. “Without problem-solving solutions like Nimble, businesses could be stunting their growth.”

Sales people spend a fifth (19%) of their day researching data and insights, according to a Cirrus Insight report. That percentage translates into an astounding 49 days per year, or £4,029 per UK salesperson per year ($10,727 per US salesperson per year) based on each country’s respective average salaries.  Without a doubt, this time is better spent in other ways: customer engagement, cross-selling, upselling and so on.

At the very core, Wardell believes that using cloud solutions is all about making things easier for the end user: “When they can reach everything in one place, with one set of login credentials and integrate their productivity suite with other applications like Nimble, it gives businesses the room they need to expand, grow and scale at large.”