The transformational power of the Cloud for mobile user engagement
Wholesale adoption of full-featured cloud services will make engagement with the public easier and faster, says Systems Up's Richard Ingram
When someone tells me they’re already using ‘the cloud’ it usually turns out they’ve got hosted exchange or a few SaaS office applications - but not an overall cloud policy.
The use of the cloud is far more than simple infrastructure. It is a paradigm shift in the way companies do business and engage with their customers.
Information Technology historically used to be about records and paper management – something the public sector has been very good at.
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But rather than IT as a service, it is now all about communications, engagement and service delivery, driven by the customer as a consumer and a mobile consumer at that.
Recognising this, the technology research company Forrester Research has been detailing the wholesale shift to customer driven services.
Pascal Matzke, a member of Forrester’s Business Technology Futures team which pinpoints long term trends for CIOs , wrote, “Get in front of the digital change — or be usurped.”
He argued that it is imperative that CIOs work side-by-side with other business leaders in their organisation to lead the transformation to digital business and truly understand the impact of ‘the age of the customer.’
One of the best examples of this transformation can be seen in the travel industry with the culture shift that’s taken place within Ryanair.
While the Internet provided the means for Ryanair and other budget airlines to flourish by allowing them to cut out travel agents and sell tickets direct to customers online, Ryanair failed to grasp the customer service opportunity that digital had created, instead losing business because of poor interactions with its customers.
Earlier this year it launched Ryanair Digital Labs to build what it describes as ‘the best digital travel team on the planet’ to serve its customers.
Envisioning change and putting customers (or users of public sector services) first involves dynamic and agile access and presentation of data. It’s always about the applications.
So why do some insist on simply transferring their legacy application stacks from Point A, say their own datacentre, to Point B, “Cloud Hosting”?
The answer can only be that the sheer size and dynamics of the shift towards customer-centric service is in itself disruptive and possibly downright scary.
A true cloud service is as close to infinitely scalable as you can get. Internally hosted IT is now the extreme opposite and means the ability to take on new services is constrained, costly and prone to error.
With smartphones now more popular than laptops for everyday Internet access by consumers in the UK, and eight in 10 households having fixed broadband access at home, according to Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report, engagement with the users of public services will have to reflect new levels of expectation.
Wholesale adoption of full-featured cloud services and the better use of data analytics will lead you to a new agile and mobile world where engagement with the public is easier and faster and culture change within your organisation will be welcomed not feared.