Cloud infrastructure has heavily infiltrated enterprises over recent years and many key decision makers will be able to tell you of its many benefits to business. These being, most notably, increased storage, access from all locations, security and the ability to manage and scale. The ever increasing dissemination of these benefits across industries is contributing to rapid cloud deployment.

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However, organisations also want to know about the longer-term value of cloud deployment to both enterprise and consumer alike. How can bottom line results be achieved through the maximisation of cloud infrastructure to collect valuable strategic data for decision making or optimise the customer experience for example? The answer is in a clear post-deployment cloud strategy that will enable businesses to manage for the future.

So, where do you start? First, a business must identify how the cloud provides added value to its customer base. Enterprises are under increased pressure to accommodate fast changing customer needs, and to keep up, IT managers need an environment that allows them to develop applications, test products and go to production much faster. In this scenario, businesses bring application development and client services to the cloud, ensuring a quicker, more secure platform of engagement.

Putting Customer Needs First

Shifting applications to the cloud is just the start of the deployment journey. Firms must also deploy the proper edge and connectivity infrastructure in their respective offices, stores, restaurants, etc. to provide customers access to those applications. Customer satisfaction is a top priority in today’s business landscape, so it’s crucial that Ethernet edge switches are quick enough and smart enough to maintain an optimal user experience. This means prioritising business traffic ahead of bandwidth-consuming, non-mission critical traffic and moving network intelligence to the edge. Not only does an intelligent edge device prioritise business traffic, it also supports a strategy that aligns with the subscription-based financial models most often associated with the cloud.

Utilise Analytics

Once customers are connected and able to use applications, companies can leverage analytics to track customer experience, ensuring the cloud solution is truly delivering premium results. Analytics also enable a business to become a more agile, revenue generating operation, enabling the monetisation of network infrastructure.

Analytics can also help IT departments make decisions about where they should invest more or – conversely – pull back, based on activity reports on which software is being used on the network. These data-driven decisions combat the onset of shadow IT; still prevalent in many organisations and frequently the cause of security and business expenditures. If a company is paying for a license that people aren’t using, the CIO and IT department can orient themselves based on analytics to understand what’s actually transpiring on a network. From there, they can better evaluate the software that has been adopted from a security and revenue standpoint.

Vertical Cloud

In addition to the enterprise, the application of analytics and monetisation can be highly valuable in several vertical sectors as well. In universities, for example, IT managers can see how students interact with applications on a network to determine how it’s helping or proving to be an obstacle to them. In large sports stadiums, analytics can show crowded areas to appropriately allocate wireless and provide support for fans. Family members and patients in hospitals are able to interact and connect seamlessly during emergency situations. Quality of experience is a relevant measurement for every industry, whether in a waiting room, classroom or boardroom.

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Where Next for Cloud?

As more companies implement cloud solutions, their post-deployment strategies will become the determining factor for success when offering customers a seamless experience. It all starts with analytics, which offer businesses precise visibility into collected data that could increase sales and improve the customer experience. From there, it’s the organisation’s responsibility to leverage their solution as a resource for monetisation. With these steps, companies will be positioned to succeed following the implementation of their cloud solution.

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Mike Leibovitz, Director, Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks Mike Leibovitz has more than 15 years of engineering, product management and marketing expertise in the communications industry. Since 2008 Mike has been instrumental in bringing high density mobility solutions to stadiums, healthcare, education and commercial markets for Extreme Networks. Mike’s current role as Director in the Office of CTO focuses on market-driven technology incubation and innovation within Extreme's cloud and mobility practice.