Whatever collaboration tool you’re using, Cloud Computing is forming the backbone of social business.
Speaking on the social business panel at the Business Cloud Summit in London, Tamara Littleton, founder of social media agency eModeration and Debora Rustemeyer, global commercial program manager at Environmental Resources Management (ERM), explained Cloud’s vital role in social business.
“The whole company of 420 people work from home; I’m the only one that goes into an office,” explained Littleton. “Everything is on the Cloud. We have base camp system using 37 signals tools, such as Intuit and Google apps, and Yammer is also something we're particularly fond of. We call it our social glue.”
Social business is currently one of the hottest topics in business and major Cloud vendors like Saleforce.com are making a huge push to establish themselves in the space.
Rustemeyer explained that ERM started using Salesforce.com’s Chatter when looking for a CRM system to implement. “That was two years ago when Salesforce.om was just bringing in Chatter. When we evaluated all the tools we realised the collaborative power that Chatter would bring – we realised we weren’t able to do this on our SharePoint, or to collaborate at that level with Minerva.”
She added that another advantages of a collaboration tool in the Cloud is that the commercial team using it doesn’t need the IT department sat next to them, trying to help fix things or set it up on-premise.
“That's given us a lot more freedom in terms of governance and a lot more freedom to move faster. After we chose Salesforce.com there are a couple of systems we've also put into place that are Cloud-based. We’ve gone from rolling out a global accounting system which took two years to implementing Salesforce.com which took six months. What we've rolled out since has taken shorter and shorter...that wouldn’t happen unless it was Cloud-based.”
Littleton agreed that the Cloud not only brings huge benefits but that the company would be unable to operate without it. “Obviously there are very strict security systems but we've had to invest so heavily into making all of our Cloud-based systems secure because we're working with some of the biggest brands in the world.
“We've taken on over 200 people in the last six months alone because we're growing rapidly and we’ve been able to hire people and use social tools to do that; we haven't had to use an agency at all. To be able to do all this in such a nimble fashion and so agile, and to have a very flexible workforce, it's the way it is to me but seems quite futuristic to other people.
“I can’t conceive not being in the Cloud,” she said.