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November 2017—

Is it time your store moved to the Cloud? Change in your furniture store doesn’t come easy. Just think about the last time you introduced a new line. So, if you’re thinking about moving your store to the cloud, expect some pushback.

Some of that pushback is human nature: The unknown can be scary. Admit it. Part of you likes coming to work every day comfortable in the knowledge the status quo keeps you from shifting the way you do business. Another part of you, however, might be uneasy based on misinformation. There are persistent myths that breed preconceptions about moving a business to the cloud.

Matt Mansfield of Small Business Trends offers some facts that might help you push past the resistance and move your furniture store one step closer to the cloud.

MYTH: Cloud Computing is a Passing Phase

From websites to SEO, QR codes, and location marketing, retailers are used to being bombarded with the latest and greatest thing. The cloud is no different.
But guess what? Mansfield writes that cloud computing is here to stay:

  • According to a Microsoft SMB Study, 78 percent of small businesses will have adapted cloud computing by 2020.
  • An IBM survey of 2,000 mid-size companies finds 66 percent of mid-size companies planned to implement cloud computing projects this year. Seventy-five percent will do his in conjunction with IT Infrastructure improvements.

This level of investment indicates that the cloud is gaining traction for the long run and is here to stay.

MYTH: The Cloud is Less Secure

Security is one of the top reasons retailers put off a move to the cloud. This is understandable: once your data is outside your firewall (you do have a firewall, don’t you?), it feels like protecting it is beyond your control.

Except:

  • Businesses have experienced a 51 percent higher rate of security incidents in on-premises data centers than those in the cloud.
  • 94 percent of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t previously have with their former on-premise technology approach, such as keeping systems up-to-date, spam email management and up-to-date antivirus.

What’s the driving force behind these statistics? Cloud vendors and service providers keep teams of experienced security professionals on staff to watch over your data. Small and midsize furniture retailers would find that level of protection hard to match.

MYTH: The Cloud is Not Reliable

While large-scale cloud outages have made the news, these events are simply not the norm. That said, they do occur so how reliable can the cloud be?

Very reliable. In one survey, 75 percent of small businesses said they experienced improved service availability since moving to the cloud. Another 61 percent said both the frequency and length of downtime has decreased since moving to the cloud.

Consider that when your in-house technology has issues, it will likely take time before you or your IT team, or outside vendor, are on-premises and working on the problem. If the problem cannot be fixed quickly, the cost of downtime will start eating into your bottom line.

Compare that cost to a cloud vendor or service provider that has a team of on-staff IT professionals ready to fix any issue. In addition, they have the in-house resources to fail-over to a backup server so downtime is limited while repairs are made.

MYTH: Performance is Worse in the Cloud

Today, retailers like you need — and demand — the fastest application performance they can afford. No one has time to wait for slow-moving apps or services. That’s why latency, or slower systems, is a concern as applications and servers are moved off premise and into the cloud.

Indeed, this can be a worry, but one that’s alleviated by two points:

  • Cloud vendors and service providers are constantly upgrading their infrastructure to the latest and greatest hardware. This activity, which your store can’t hope to emulate, will keep your business up to speed.
  • Features like geolocation and latency-based routing, both of which are regularly used, can also improve application response times.

MYTH: If a Business Moves to the Cloud, Everything Must Go

False in so many ways. Moving everything to the cloud at once can be a recipe for disaster.

Each time you move one of your store’s functions into the cloud, a cost-benefit analysis should be run. Migration should only occur if the benefits outweigh the costs.

In addition, your on-premise infrastructure can be used in conjunction with the cloud for years to come. Integrating both is called Hybrid Computing, and it’s a very popular approach in today’s business world.

MYTH: Cloud Migration Is Too Complex

To a certain degree this is true, but it should not stop your business from reaping the benefits of moving to the cloud. What your store needs is a cloud partner, one that brings its expertise to the table from the start and sticks around afterwards to support your ongoing efforts.

MYTH: Businesses Lose Control of Their Technology in the Cloud

OK, this one’s actually half true, but moving to the cloud will free your business from having to spend time maintaining a technology infrastructure. What could you possible do with all that saved time? For starters, you could focus on serving and delighting your customers.

MYTH: We Don’t Need Data Analytics

To compete in the furniture retail industry, your store needs to be intelligent and that intelligence come from data. In the past, data diving was an expensive proposition. Thanks to the cloud, with cheaper storage and online tools, data analytics has come within the financial reach of SMBs.

Is it worth it? Consider these two statistics:

  • Forty-four percent of small business owners who use data analytics tools report increased sales, compared with 33 percent who do not.
  • Companies using analytics are five times more likely to make faster business decisions than those that don’t.