The evolution of cloud technology has awakened a desire by businesses to fast-track the development of platforms in order to capitalise on Customer Experience (CX).
There is widespread opportunity to up the level of traditional customer engagement and many companies are introducing cloud solutions to maximise these opportunities – however, the consumer is a lot more tech-savvy and are aware of the choice they have in technology available, says Paul McIntyre, CX Executive at Elingo, a Johannesburg-based leader in ICT and cloud solutions.
“Leading platform providers, like Genesys, are accelerating efforts to position their cloud offerings in the local market. Other solution providers and integrators have deployed cloud offerings to market, so there is now choice. What is becoming the next big differentiator is the expertise and professional services to match cloud offerings to the business requirements in both process, integration and business logic,” says McIntyre.
Elingo believes the South African cloud market is expected to grow, particularly in the deployment of platforms and solutions as businesses negotiate compliance with regulation like PoPI.
“South Africa has embraced Customer Experience as a business differentiator, this is really an exciting space for us, this implies new and interesting business strategies which in turn will drive platform metamorphosis,” adds McIntyre.
He says this is where cloud and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) come into their own… “speed of deployment, lower cost barrier to these solutions all that will be required is to select the most experience solution provider for the requirements.”
According to McIntyre there is speculation in the market as to whether or not the advent of cloud will ultimately lead to the demise of IaaS – but he believes there is no way IaaS is on its way out and there will always be a requirement.
“It will depend on the maturity of the customer, physical requirements, geographical location (Africa has its own specific challenges), and appetite to move to the cloud. A service provider who provides solutions across all options is going to be key selection criteria,” McIntyre continues.
Exactly what approach a business should take really depends on resources, core requirements, budget and practicalities.
If a company is looking to hand over complete ownership and responsibility, then cloud is very attractive says McIntyre.
“This will then also remove cost of expertise that could still be needed in the business and allow the business to refocus those resources in other areas. Depending on business requirements and practicalities, there may even be a requirement to bring all technology and services in-house, but working with a service provider that understands both technology, ability of technology to meet business requirements and costing models, will provide clarity to business as to the best solution for them,” he adds.
Irrespective of approach, the reality of operating in today’s market is that there are advantages and disadvantages to IaaS.
McIntyre explains that the disadvantages include dependency on a service provider, the speed of execution, skills and technical understanding to match business requirements to technology are all external to the business.
“At the same time the advantages are freedom from hardware upgrades, operating system upgrades, uptime, all the elements that make IaaS a very real business consideration will always be there,” he says.
Elingo has the resources, expertise and experience to add value and guide the market, to leverage the cloud and IaaS approach to infrastructure management.