Years ago, it was fairly common for enterprise-level companies to build their own power plants – as crazy as it may seem today, in some cases that was the most cost-effective solution to a critical need. Once local energy providers were able to catch up and provide cheap, easy power these business owned power plants shut their doors for good.While these ambitious building projects were business critical at the time, they also sucked up precious time and resources. After connecting to the main power grid, these resources were able to work on other projects to help the business innovate and grow.

We are in a similar period of change, when monolithic, on premise business application (ERP, CRM, BI, etc.) implementations are on the decline and more business are moving to the cloud. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020 less than 10% of enterprise installations will be packaged software. Clearly, at this point the question isn’t “Why cloud?” but “Why not cloud?”

Still not convinced?
If you are in the 39% of organizations that aren’t focused on moving from on premise to the cloud, you’re putting yourself at risk of extinction.

“Digital Darwinism is unkind to those who wait [to prioritize digital transformation]...if you’re not making the shift — if you’re not even moving in that direction — you’re probably going to be merged, acquired, or go bankrupt.”

Ray Wang
Principal Analyst, Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research

Consumers are demanding more omni-channel capabilities and a unified experience across every business interaction, and the only way to (reasonably) achieve this is through the cloud. One of the biggest impacts the cloud can have is by providing deep, actionable insights at every level of the organization. In fact, 86% of companies that implemented cloud-based tools that encouraged collaboration and a wider use of data, saw improved productivity and 70% saw better sales. Knowledge really is power!

Not just any cloud
The key to making the most out of your move to the cloud is not just settling for any old cloud. While it can be deceptively easy to implement some business applications in the cloud, by approaching the move in a piecemeal manner, brands can sometimes set up a perfect storm of cloud silos...and find themselves in the same disjointed mess as when the services were on premise. Cloud services that are deployed in different clouds still require integrations. And each integration is something the IT team has to maintain and represents another opportunity for something to go wrong.

"Digital transformation requires systems of intelligence that are tailored to each industry, each company, each micro-task performed by each person. Systems that can learn, expand, and evolve with agility as the world and business changes."

Satya Nadella
CEO of Microsoft

So be smart and consider an intelligent cloud which leverages a common platform to run key business applications. When the solutions that make your business tick are pulling from a single platform and database, you instantly decrease the number of integrations and increase the speed of doing business. Additionally, this intelligent structure ups the productivity factor exponentially. Imagine a member of your sales team being able to proactively engage a prospect or customer, armed with a 360° view of their most recent purchases, their wish list, and a suggestion of what to recommend next based on inventory availability and buying history – all from a single screen.

That’s just one example of what an intelligent cloud offering, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 can do for your organization. In fact, under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has created a clear vision of how businesses will transform to embrace this new, connected future:

“What is most compelling here [in Dynamics 365] is the deep integration of ERP, CRM, and desktop productivity capabilities...Few other players offer a common platform and data model for CRM and ERP — and none bring in the office productivity capabilities that Microsoft can.”

Rebecca Wettemann
VP of Research of Nucleus Research

Learn More
Nadella also suggests that there are three key areas where organizations are primed to make digital transformations with the help of the intelligent cloud: engaging customers, empowering employees, and optimizing operations.

In our latest eBook, Powering and Connecting Your Business with the Cloud: How Intelligent, Cloud-Based Business Applications are Leading a Digital Transformation we explore how transforming each of these areas can help companies innovate and grow like never before.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take the next step in your digital evolution — your competitors sure aren’t. With the ability to start with just the licenses you need and add more as you go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a smarter, easier, or more cost-effective way to prepare your brand for the future.