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    December 8, 2021

    9 Ways Distributors Are Improving Productivity with Cloud Technology

    Productivity is the holy grail of business. Streamlined processes lead to increased margins, a better customer experience and revenue growth.

    An effective means of improving productivity for distributors is to migrate to the Cloud. Cloud-based solutions are safer, faster and more reliable than legacy systems.

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides companies with automatic updates and external support, so you can enjoy state-of-the-art features without having to invest in an IT department. Additionally, the Cloud streamlines coworking, communications and product management by making data and projects accessible to your team from any device, no matter where they are or in what time zone.

    For example, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management improves inventory management by enhancing inventory visibility across locations, boosting accuracy and reducing stockouts and overstocking. Dynamics 365 Sales enhances the productivity of your sales team by prioritizing customers and activities and improving collaboration among team members.

    Near the beginning of the pandemic, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said businesses were adopting Cloud solutions at a surprising rate, with two years of digital transformation occurring in just two months. In 2021, the rate of Cloud adoption among businesses continued to rise.

    How Can the Cloud Improve Productivity? 

    Migrating to the Cloud will improve a distributor’s operations by streamlining processes across various areas.  

    1. Less reliance on IT departments and workers – A Cloud provider will handle tech updates, troubleshooting and implementation when purchasing a Cloud service. This lightens the load for in-house IT professionals and allows them to spend time on other projects, such as training and app development.  
    2. Improves access and connectivity – With a Cloud-based ERP system, your team can access essential files anytime, anywhere to make time-sensitive updates, changes, and edits across multiple countries and time zones. For example, sales reps need to answer customer questions about real-time inventory availability and analyze customer history to know what to offer and how to serve them best. With an on-premises system, a sales rep would need to call their customer service department and ask for someone to relay the information to them. With the Cloud, a sales rep can go into the system and find this valuable information themselves, leaving them more time to analyze and work with the customer. 
    3. Improved security – Cloud-based ERP systems offer more security than on-premises systems. Housing your systems in the Cloud will accelerate data recovery in the case of an accident or data breach – saving your team valuable time and effort. Your partner should have robust security measures in place to handle a data breach or any other security issue. 
    4. Provide more personalized customer care – Tools and programs that run on the Cloud dive deeper into your customers’ browsing behavior and purchasing preferences, providing your team with more robust customer analytics. These programs take the guesswork out, so your team can focus on delivering a higher-quality, personalized customer experience and seize opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.  
    5. Analyze KPIs to identify areas of improvement – With the Cloud, your executive team can get a broader picture of your overall operations. For example, Cloud-based ERP systems provide detailed information on key metrics so your managers can monitor productivity. They can then use the information to see what is working well and what needs adjusting.  
    6. Identify promising leads and new opportunities – Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven tools gather customer information from various departments and combine them into a single platform for a 360-degree view of your customer base. Your team can comprehensively view potential leads alongside existing customers to better understand purchasing patterns with such detailed information.

    For example, a customer places orders from multiple departments within the same company for similar products. A solution like Dynamics 365 Sales can highlight this and alert your sales team to reach out to the customer to inquire about the redundancy and offer SKU in a bigger bundle. This visibility saves the customer and the supplier time and money in the long run.  

    1. Improve purchasing efficiency – With the right Cloud-based supply chain management solution, your team can track inventory in real-time and across locations to see which materials are selling and which are collecting dust. You can adjust your inventory to improve purchasing efficiency and reduce inventory carrying costs with this information. 
    2. Increase inventory accuracy – Automatic reordering and real-time inventory tracking enable your warehouse team to locate items quickly and virtually monitor inventory levels. They also help your sales team create more accurate quotes. In times of fluctuating prices and availability in the supply chain, suppliers need the most accurate data for accurate forecasts. 
    3. Flexibility and scalability – As your company adapts to changes within the business, your technology needs will undoubtedly change. Instead of investing in new technology and data centers, the Cloud can scale up or down with your particular workloads. This flexibility means that you do not have to continuously monitor your data storage, allowing your IT staff to focus on adding value in other areas of the company.

    Where Should You Begin? 

    Migrating to the Cloud can be done quickly and requires little input from your team, allowing them to focus on their work with minimal interruption. Your partner will help you understand your company’s current systems and what changes you need to make before moving forward. When planning your migration, there are two crucial things to consider:

    Cloud solutions enable your team to be more productive and efficient while providing a better experience for new and returning customers. Although moving from your existing system to the Cloud may seem daunting, the rewards far outweigh the risks. To learn more about your Cloud options, reach out to one of our Cloud experts today. 


    Chris Lavelle

    Chris Lavelle serves as the Vice President and Pod Meister™ of Cloud Offerings and Strategy at Enavate. In this role, he is responsible for the Strategic Vision of Enavate’s Subscription and Cloud Offerings and ensures they are successfully brought to market. Prior to Enavate, Chris has spent the last 22 years in the Microsoft channel providing leadership and strategic direction to midsized Consulting Organizations supporting Application Development, BI&A, Collaboration, Security, Infrastructure, ERP, and Cloud Services. Chris has been a member of multiple Microsoft Partner Advisory Councils including the Microsoft Security PAC, and the Microsoft Infrastructure PAC, and has presented at multiple Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conferences.

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