Cloud services have become so ingrained in daily life that many individuals fail to even notice how often they interact with content, media and applications that are hosted hundreds of miles away. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that most people don’t even know how the cloud works, but that isn’t stopping anyone from taking advantage of these services. The result is that we now live in an on-demand world where people can quickly browse through a large variety of options before making the optimal choice. And even if someone picks the wrong movie or song, cloud services allow the consumer to select a new option.
Those capabilities have directly influenced the popularity of streaming services, such as Netflix or Spotify. These two cloud-based entertainment platforms sparked a revolution in digital content decisions, and now, businesses are about to embark on a very similar cloud journey.
Everyone does it now
At first, organizations were hesitant about the cloud. Some IT professionals cited security issues, while others imagined how the delivery of products and services at the speed of sound would impact workflow. Now that more business leaders are informed on how the cloud works, many companies put their concerns behind them.
“93% of organizations are either using hosted applications or IaaS.”
It’s fair to say that the cloud is everywhere at this point. According to Right Scale’s report on the cloud’s importance in 2015, 93 percent of organizations surveyed are either using hosted applications or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Whether it’s cloud-enabled enterprise mobility or hosting e-content, businesses are exploring all of their cloud options.
Don’t forget e-content
One often overlooked aspect of innovation lies in business content. Unfortunately, when it comes to printing and distributing marketing materials, documents and internal documents, many companies are far behind the times. The situation harkens back to the competitive days between Netflix and Blockbuster Video. Yes, businesses are stuck in the year 2000 in regard to document distribution.
Do you remember the last time you walked into a video store? The scenario probably went like this: It was 1997 and your light-up sneakers were running low on juice. You browsed the company’s selection of movies, starting with new releases – like Titanic, Air Force One and Liar Liar – and gradually looked down each and every aisle. If the picture or title on the box seemed appealing or interesting, you would pay at the register, the clerk would put the DVD in the case and you would drive home. Not only is that process time-consuming, but if that movie is bad or a friend doesn’t like it, the whole night is ruined.
Now, compare that in-store experience to selecting a film via Netflix or a similar video streaming service. You can take your time to browse with no pressure on the store closing, easily view all of the options and search for keywords that interest you. But most importantly, if the product is unsatisfactory, it can be swapped for another film with speed and efficiency.
Make smarter choices
This example was chosen because it demonstrates the consumer’s ability to make well-informed decisions after viewing all the options and previewing each choice. Just replace all instances of movies and video stores with business documents, marketing materials and brick-and-mortar printers, and you’ll see that the situation is too similar to ignore.
Simply put, cloud-based printing services are the Netflix of paper. They are disrupting the whole industry by giving businesses more printing options and efficient procurement processes. The direct result is that better decisions can be made, which please customers and employees, and you’re much better at performing your job.
Learning from Blockbuster
There is another lesson that business leaders can learn from Blockbuster. Forbes reported that Blockbuster never reinvented its company to compete in a cloud-enabled economy. Organizations that fail to adapt to new ways of doing business will be left in the dust. After all, Blockbuster tried to digitally distribute entertainment, but it was far too late.
Cloud-based printing services put decision-makers in the optimal position to make the best selections when choosing marketing materials, brochures and any necessary internal documentation. Whether the focus is on e-content or physical documentation, cloud solutions enable smarter and better-informed decisions. Now is the time to take your business out of 1997 and move it into 2015.
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