Lessons You Can Learn From the Big Solar Guys. Part 1: Enter The Cloud

The large solar installers and financiers get a lot of attention. They get a lot of media airtime, utilize comparatively large marketing budgets to acquire their customers, and can support diverse operational roles in the overhead of their company. And yet the top five national solar installers only comprise 36% of the market share (according to GTM Research). If you are a small or mid-size solar installer that is part of the other 64%, what can you learn from how the big guys have set up their solar operations that you can apply to your business? This is the first part of a series on best practices in operating your solar company.

GTM Research PV Installer Marketshare Breakdown
GTM Research PV Installer Marketshare Breakdown

Enter the Cloud.

Cloud operations are making it easier to scale and "right size" your business. They do this by effectively outsourcing the database and application layers of software to remote servers or clusters of servers and serving the interfaces up via the web.

series lessons from large installers

As a small business owner, this means you won't need to keep track of software versions and manually update dozens of software tools sometimes at great cost. Everything from accounting software to project management tools have moved to the cloud or have extended options into the cloud. It also gives you more flexibility in terms of adding and subtracting seats as your business fluctuates, a challenge in a tight margin construction-based industry as solar energy installation.

Ensure when you are evaluating these solutions that you negotiate carefully based on your estimated usage not just now but based on your growth plan. Can your cloud system scale with your business plan?

Find out how it will integrate with your current business process, especially integrations with humans and customer handoffs. A wise investment to consider is an implementation consultant. They can evaluate any and all unintended consequences of a shift to the cloud including robustness and security of your current internet infrastructure, mobile options, remote access strategies as well as process and people integrations.

Finally, develop a sound change management strategy as part of your IT implementation. Perhaps more critical than the scoping, selection, and setup of the solution, the lack of effective change management strategy can hamper the successful adoption of cloud solutions and create lasting ill affects in company culture and thus, adversely affect customer relationships.

Chaolysti is experienced in change management around cloud software implementation. If you are looking for vendor suggestions, change management strategy, or best practices in cloud solutions, contact us to review your business operations for recommendations.