Are you suffering from “Cloud Confusion”?


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A plethora of articles refer to the cloud as if it’s something new. In reality, cloud-based software has been present for many years. What is true is that cloud software is now available at a much broader level than when it started with personal social communication software.

It seems that “cloud confusion” stems from the various uses of the word cloud as applied in the technology world. So what does it mean and which definitions are acceptable for use today?

In its purest sense I propose that a hosted call center provides “a solution that is accessible by customers or users, regardless of their location, and, where technology permits, through multi-modal end points.” I call this the “ideal definition” In reality, country borders, laws, device and technology limitations and security are factors that influence the extent to which a cloud solution conforms to this ideal.

Most cloud-based contact centers used by B2B or B2C companies at the present time are described as such more because of their “off-premise” nature than their ability to meet the ideal definition. Such solutions are normally directly connected from the cloud to a single network access point for the company they are serving; they may have other access points for the customer part of the equation. This is known as a “hosted” solution and when a cloud philosophy is applied behind the scenes to support business continuity or breadth of solution delivery to the customer base, it’s not inaccurate to call it a “cloud-based hosted solution.”

Cloud solutions that address the ideal definition include Windows Live, eBay and Amazon in each case created by the company involved as a direct to customer offering and leveraged where possible for B2C opportunities within their platform.

There are of course major true cloud solutions delivered through the internet appearing and these are growing, but generally these are CRM solutions providing cloud services to a company itself, rather than its customers.

For all but the purists seeking the ideal definition, cloud solutions for businesses today are often delivered as “cloud based” hosted solutions.

Delivery of cloud technology in a hosted format should not be considered as less valuable to either customers or vendors. For example, one large CRM vendor noted that 25% of their US software revenue in a quarter was supported by cloud subscriptions. Another vendor recently referred to the way the cloud can help customers simplify IT. Clearly, customers and vendors alike see real benefits to be gained from cloud software!

I mentioned security earlier and often hosted connectivity is preferred to control company intellectual property or customer data more stringently. With a full “cloud” solution such information would really be uploaded or created in the cloud, something that is not always desirable unless the business is small and can accept a degree of risk for the benefits of the solution offered.

The major cloud offerings for businesses are, software as a service abbreviated “SaaS”, and platform as a service, “PaaS”. Each type of offering provides different levels of investment for different layers of benefits. SaaS has a greater focus on business enablement focus and PaaS is more focused around delivering a widely accessible development platform.

If questions about security, infrastructure stability, and system , are keeping you up at night, read why Jamie Libow at NoJitter thinks the cloud may be the IT manager’s answer to a good night’s sleep.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alton Harewood
Alton Harewood, Account Director New Business and Strategic Accounts, has spent over 25 years working on successful projects with contact centre and IT executives. Alton is tweeting, blogging and speaking about technology and its impact on communications, business differentiation and customer experience.


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