The cloud is a technical concept, usually something for the IT people to focus on and not the kind of concept that should be on a customer service blog, so why am I about to talk about it here?
Sometimes a concept comes along that should be of interest to everyone – no matter their level of technical knowledge.
The virtualisation of business services is changing the way software, hardware, and many services that use IT, are all delivered, billed, and supported so it is important for customer service executives to have an idea of what is changing. And let’s face it, which business process does not use IT these days?
Think about how easy it is to use the web tools you use in your daily life. You can store your holiday photos on Flickr, you can store video from your telephone on YouTube, you can write blogs on WordPress, and store your business contacts in LinkedIn.
All these tools are examples of consumer tools that are cloud-based; the user accesses the application and all the data inside the shared cloud space rather than having anything on their local computer.
Google Apps is one of the best-known cloud-based business tools, along with other tools such as Salesforce.com. All these tools need to be supported in a very different way to tools that were installed, configured, and managed locally.
Local configuration and customisation is usually harder with these tools so they should be easier to support. If you have experienced the differences between supporting business users working with traditional and cloud-based systems then I’d be interested to hear your views on the differences.