Smart businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs without impacting the service they provide to customers and stakeholders. Cloud computing offers a compelling cost-saving argument, particularly as the churn of technology has made traditional capital budgeting a challenge for IT organizations.
“What you buy today [in IT] will be obsolete before you even have the capital expense depreciated,” observes Michael Hugos, consultant and author of the book, Business in the Cloud. “You need a flexible cost structure where you’re not saddled with a massive infrastructure expense. Using cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are cost-effective, pay-as-you-go mechanisms for IT.”
Seeking a CRM solution but with limited time and IT resources, Alabama-headquartered Alfa Insurance turned to the cloud-based RightNow solution (since acquired by Oracle), deploying the platform in 2009. Alfa was able to go live within six months of initial research into a CRM platform.
“It would have taken us at least 24 months in a traditional installation, and I am not sure if that would have even been enough time,” says Susan Adcock, vice president of marketing resources. “We wouldn’t have been able to commit to a new system at all if it wasn’t a cloud-based system.”
Alfa provides an agent portal to the RightNow system for its employed and independent exclusive sales agents. “The portal allows our field agents to access leads, view services we’ve provided to their customers, and see notification of claims that were filed. It also allows us to deploy our knowledge-based information to the field agents and to capture VOC [voice of the customer] information from the agents,” which includes compliments, concerns, and suggestions, Adcock says.
Headed by a chief innovation officer, Chubb’s innovation program features regular events that focus on specific targets, such as cost reduction or operational efficiency. The Imaginatik platform provides cloud-based collaborative spaces that help teams collect, build, and share ideas, and analytics that let Chubb evaluate the effectiveness of ideas that the program generates.