The advent of cloud computing has not only transformed the technology sector, but also the way that organisations run their businesses. According to the latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum, roughly four in five UK-based organisations use at least one cloud service today, and a significant proportion of those organisations use many more than that. To put this into context, that figure stood at just under two in five in 2010, demonstrating the astronomic rise of the delivery model.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Cloud has transformed more than the #tech sector, it has changed the way people do business”]

Several years ago the primary objective for migrating to a cloud-based model was to save money and avoid capital expenditure. But while cost savings do often materialise, there are no guarantees and, depending on the solution in question, a business could feasibly end up spending the same on a cloud-based service as they would have done for an on-premises version.

Costs are necessarily important, and there’s no denying the appeal of reducing the cost of running and maintaining IT, but we have started to see a shift in the conversation about cloud from how it can save money to how it can generate it. Ultimately, cloud is not about the technology per se, but what it enables you to do and how it can transform the IT department from a cost centre to something that can enable genuine business change.

Ultimately, cloud is not about the technology per se, but what it enables you to do

The ability to transform business and customer interactions is one of the greatest strengths of cloud computing, and, indeed, improving customer service stands as one of the key objectives that is driving the continued investment in cloud services. You want to be able to offer your end users, be they internal or external, more support and transform their experience – which, in turn, brings with it significant competitive advantage.

The potential of cloud to transform the end-to-end customer experience is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the contact centre, where cloud computing has enabled businesses to fully embrace omni-channel engagement. This is critical for businesses looking to improve their mobile self-service offering and divert costly, common or non-complex enquiries away from the contact centre.

Customers today want to be able to navigate between different channels, from social media and mobile apps to the traditional voice call – all without losing context. It’s convenient and seamless, and it’s critical that businesses can respond with the same agility and provide a frictionless service regardless of the contact method used – which is precisely what cloud-based solutions help to achieve.

the security aspect of cloud is still under scrutiny

There are, however, a range of obstacles – be they real or perceived – that stand in the way on the wholesale transformation of businesses and their use of cloud, chief among them the belief that cloud is insecure.

Although it isn’t seen as the absolute barrier to adoption it once was, security is still an objection that many businesses have about cloud computing, and is cited as the primary reason for keeping services in-house. Plainly, data security is not something to be treated lightly, but typically a good cloud provider will have security nailed and will have invested in sufficiently high levels of protection. With economies of scale on their side and a breadth of customers with differing risk requirements, Cloud Service Providers are in the position to spend more on security and, indeed, are able to offer infinitely greater levels of security than most businesses can afford in their own right. It’s fundamental to the cloud business model; if cloud were inherently insecure, the industry would just evaporate.

[easy-tweet tweet=”If #cloud services were inherently insecure, the industry would have just evaporated, but it hasn’t. ” user=”comparethecloud”]

It’s critical that businesses can find mechanisms to overcome these perceived barriers as the ‘opportunity costs’ of not moving to cloud are too great to ignore. Rather than asking “What will I save?” or “What will cloud cost me?” businesses should be asking “What will the cost to my business be if I don’t move to cloud?”

Those that have already moved to cloud are reaping the benefits and securing competitive advantage. Those that haven’t will already be finding themselves at a distinct disadvantage.

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Keiron Dalton, Senior Director of Customer Strategy and Innovation, Aspect Software
Keiron Dalton comes from a background in software engineering, having spent over 17 years in the IT industry, with roles ranging from technical engineer through to product management. Keiron has a keen interest and expert knowledge in innovation and thought leadership within IT, and has specialist experience in product management, product marketing, hardware/software support, project management, software testing, network, and purchasing.