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The New Cloud Darling

Name a multi-billion dollar market that’s getting an extended overdue cloud make-over:

Field Service Management.

This $18 billion industry has barely begun to dip its toe into the large pool of possibility because of software-as-a-service, the tablet and smartphone revolution, and senior management’s recognition that service is indeed strategic. increase this the commercial insight into addressable revenue-generating opportunities and therefore the resulting top-line growth, and you’ve got a replacement cloud darling.

Service businesses represent around seventy percent of the world’s economy, yet so far, only a few thirds of the world’s large service businesses currently use field service management solutions. It’s a market poised for growth, and it’s applicable to all or any vertical service industries and businesses of any size.

Over the past forty years, service hasn’t really changed that much. There’s tons of paper, tons of disjointed, manual processes, and no meaningful connection between the sector service technician and therefore the context of a customer’s business challenges. You can’t actually track data on paper, particularly in an economy that depends upon the swift, accurate transmission of data. Field service is an industry that was comparatively slow to hitch the knowledge economy and typically doesn't move at an equivalent pace because of the remainder of the business. Until now, the efficiency, productivity, and disruption of the cloud had passed the sector industry by.

You can’t actually track data on paper…

But that’s all changing. Empowering service technicians with cloud-based, real-time tools within the field means they will do work-orders, request parts, schedule and be scheduled, search manuals, take payments, renew maintenance agreements, use social channels to speak problems swiftly and effectively, and upsell and cross-sell products and solutions where appropriate.

All of this is often done on a sensible phone or a tablet. All the info is real-time and technicians have the power to figure offline, saving time-consuming administration at the top of employment. And customer relationship management systems devour the knowledge and make sure that the customer receives future communications, advice, updates, and education. And in fact, all of that data is delivering valuable new insights about your businesses and customers. 

There are quite twenty million field technicians globally. Most of them aren't working this way…yet. But CEOs are increasingly awakening to the ‘sleeping giant’ that's their service department. on average, service margins are nearly eleven percent above equipment margins, and during a recovering economy with delayed capital equipment purchases, that counts for tons. Better yet, with the proper tools in situ, service centers can transform from being a price overhead to a profit center, delivering leads, taking orders, and providing customer intelligence.

Field service isn’t exactly known for being a horny or maybe innovative industry

Field service isn’t exactly known for being a horny or maybe innovative industry, but there are some major developments on the horizon that would soon change its image. the economic Internet is simply one example. There are currently around 25 billion devices connected to the web. By 2020, this figure is predicted to rise to 50 billion. As a planet, our civilization now depends on machines working. It’s already commonplace for manufacturers to trace the machine performance of high-end equipment with technicians determining whether a drug is often resolved remotely, reducing the prices of unnecessary service visits.

However, within the future, machine to machine learning will mean that equipment will communicate with technicians about specific faulty parts, with the machine essentially telling the service department when it's ‘sick’. Likewise, in another ten years, it's going to be commonplace for field techs to possess 3D printers in their vans to easily print the parts they require. Gamification techniques can also be wont to reward service techs for creating an SLA, cross-selling, or supporting another engineer with a phone fix.

Granted, this is often not how conventional field service operates today, but I feel these kinds of advances are just a matter of your time. Joining the cloud revolution is simply the primary step, and as a result, we'll see incredible changes in both the short term and long run. Cloud and mobility adoption are creating a replacement breed of field service management solutions that are radically re-defining what ‘business as usual’ means for the sector industry. 

Three Common Cloud Myths That Scare Financial Firms Away

In response to consumers’ demand for fast, always-on service, UK financial firms are showing a growing interest in cloud services.

Alan Grogan, chief analytics officer of the customer services group at RBS, even suggested developing a cloud service specifically for financial services organizations, despite the financial industry being criticized for lagging behind other industries in technology adoption.

Financial firms need the potential to revive sensitive information during a secure infrastructure and recover key systems and data within predefined recovery time objectives — a requirement cloud technology can fulfill.

But while most financial organizations have adopted some sort of cloud strategy, a fraction of firms have steered beyond the cloud. consistent with the Cloud Security Alliance 2015 Cloud Survey Report, as many as 19 percent of companies whose customers typically don't interact with banks electronically have a strict no-cloud policy, and 82 percent of mid-sized organizations haven't any cloud strategy in situ. What exactly is keeping financial firms from integrating cloud-based solutions into their businesses? the subsequent myths might be responsible. 

MYTH: The cloud is insecure

Security concerns are one of the highest reasons financial organizations are hesitant to adopt cloud-based solutions for his or her businesses. within the Cloud Security Alliance survey, 60 percent of respondents ranked data confidentiality as their highest cloud adoption security concern. Businesses view hacker attacks, data loss, and fraud as a true threat, and it doesn’t help that the united kingdom has been named Europe’s worst country for data breaches.

To ascertain whether the cloud infrastructure is secure enough to handle sensitive information, it's crucial to first understand the differences between private and public clouds. Whereas public cloud models store data during a multitenant environment during which customers share an equivalent infrastructure, the private cloud allows businesses to copy their data and full systems configurations in an environment restricted to a selected community. The perception of insecurity is usually related to the general public cloud model.

To mitigate the danger of security breaches within the public cloud, financial firms can use a hosted private cloud (e.g. BlackCloud) that maintains strict security controls like encoding in transit and at rest. for extra control, firms can store critical data in an on-site managed platform (e.g. BlackVault) that integrates with the cloud.

MYTH: It’s the IT department’s decision to adopt cloud technology

It’s a standard misconception that it’s solely the IT department’s responsibility to form the choice to adopt cloud technology. However, research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services shows that cloud leaders, or companies that have generated new business opportunities through a mature approach to the cloud, don’t leave cloud decisions entirely up thereto. While cloud leaders are likely to possess a CIO leading cloud initiatives, leaders from other parts of the business partner with IT in selecting and deploying services.

In the same way, for cloud implementation to achieve success during a financial institution, executive management must be involved in the decision to introduce cloud backup and recovery to the workplace. Not only will the IT and executive management teams be ready to work together to spot an answer that benefits the whole organization, but employees also are more likely to receive thorough training on using the cloud technology if the initiative is supported by the highest of command also because of the IT department. 

MYTH: Transitioning to the cloud is just too complex

Some financial firms believe transitioning their IT infrastructure to a cloud environment is going to be too time-consuming and will cause downtime or data loss during the transition. there's some truth to the present myth in some cases. for instance, if a little firm’s limited IT team attempted the transition while managing their day-to-day tasks, the project can become quite one firm can handle.

cloud service doesn’t need to be cumbersome and unmanageable.

But implementing a cloud service doesn’t need to be cumbersome and unmanageable. If complexity may be a concern, an IT managed services provider can help with project planning, implementation, maintenance, and testing to ease the burden on internal IT staff.

Additionally, Harvard Business Review Analytics Services points out that cloud leaders with a cohesive cloud strategy that’s supported across the business are ready to reduce project implementation time and complexity. 

With a far better understanding of the myths related to cloud-based solutions, financial firms can challenge what they think they realize cloud technology and realize that the cloud can become an integral part of their ability to satisfy their customers’ expectations. Moving to the Cloud? Retailers Should Pack Carefully

For many businesses, the key decision isn’t whether or to not migrate to the cloud, it’s deciding which parts to require and which parts to go away behind.

Cloud computing is an undeniably alluring option for companies. consistent with a recent study, 61 percent of shops said that cloud technology has led to faster responses to shifts in markets and changing customer needs.

The cloud affords businesses the pliability to scale back or expand capacity supported their needs at any given moment. Why buy more servers just to accommodate a short-term traffic spike on Cyber Monday? The economical option is to lease cloud-based capacity on an as-needed basis. But embracing the cloud doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing proposition for retailers. In fact, the foremost cost-efficient strategy would likely include a mixture of cloud-based applications also as dedicated servers. Moreover, different applications with varying usage characteristics are often combined to share cloud capacity – furthering cost-saving benefits.

Consumers’ growing desire for digital interaction is spurring retailers to innovate, with many looking to cloud-based development platforms like IBM Bluemix that allow them to assemble new solutions fast, then experiment and refine. This approach enables even the most important enterprises to compete with nimble and innovative startups. for instance, a retailer could use this approach to quickly build a consumer mobile app or an analytics application that receives automated data from many Internet of Things (IoT) devices utilized in a mercantile establishment to watch everything from the temperature of the freezers to motion detectors. Both applications require “born-on-the-cloud” style development, which is characterized by agile development and a mashup of multiple sorts of data from sources including weather and social media.

Certain functions – like e-commerce – also are ideal for the cloud. Sales data from e-commerce has relevance to any number of business functions including marketing, customer service, merchandising then on. If sales data is stored on the cloud, it is often more efficiently analyzed alongside other external, unstructured data like demographics, consumer spending, weather, and more. From this data, retailers can gain new insights that will be shared, sorted, filtered, and accessed by many groups of individuals in almost any corner of the world. An in-store sales associate, for instance, could see a previous couple of purchases or maybe searches a consumer made online and recommend items to the buyer supported that information. Some retailers also are seizing the chance to supply cloud-based “digital receipts” and other value-added functions as more data moves to the cloud.

Another advantage of cloud-based e-commerce systems, they evolve with the business.

Another advantage of cloud-based e-commerce systems, they evolve with the business. Because sales platforms face the customer, they modify frequently supported what the customer wants and what generates the very best sales for the corporate. Sales applications that are hosted within the cloud are often modified on-the-fly, sometimes during a matter of minutes or hours, versus months or years, which had been (or is) the case with legacy systems. E-Commerce systems are constantly being refreshed, tweaked, and enhanced by retailers, as many companies are watching the cloud as a platform to deliver a ‘continuous delivery’ model where a continuous stream of small, nimble features are often deployed continuously on to their digital platforms. With its excellent automation and provisioning capabilities, cloud technology can continue with this constant state of flux very efficiently.

For example, Spanish retail giant El Corte Ingl├ęs (ECI) selected a cloud-based Commerce solution from IBM to quickly extend its online presence while addressing the distinct customer needs of consumers in several regions. information technology colleges

 By deploying a hybrid cloud and on-prem solution, ECI can deliver customized in-country offers, promotions, and pricing optimization in real-time. the answer manages their customer orders across the whole region while supporting the various translation, payment, and regulatory requirements unique to every country. 

Retailers also can enjoy the cloud’s ability to manage flux efficiently for scenarios where many software changes are needed – like merchandise and supply-chain transformations. A growing number of shops are seeing the benefits of using the cloud for development and testing to support these large business transformations.

legacy monolithic applications aren't fitted to the cloud as making them “cloud-ready” would be an upscale affair

Conversely, legacy monolithic applications aren't fitted to the cloud as making them “cloud-ready” would be an upscale affair. Applications that consume many network bandwidth or are hooked into an outsized amount of knowledge from several applications got to be reviewed to make sure that moving to the cloud doesn't simply trade one set of costs for an additional. Applications that affect sensitive or audited and controlled data also are typically not suitable for cloud thanks to liability concerns. Instead, these monolithic applications can leverage hybrid cloud models to understand a number of the cost-efficiencies of cloud-based automation and virtualization, for instance, without having to completely re-architect monolithic applications when it doesn't make business sense.

The cloud gets tons of hype permanently reason. We are only limited by our imagination in what we do with it. But simply because we will doesn’t mean we should always. the simplest laid plans for the cloud are people who are discriminating and strategic.

Focus on your business needs, not the deployment model

There is tons of talk in IT circles about cloud models, but I feel the conversations should be less about the deployment model and more focused on what's best for the business. There are a couple of misconceptions about the private cloud out there, that are perpetuated thanks to early accounts of public cloud domination, and it’s skewing the conversation. 

The hype of the general public cloud is gone and particularly, in light of the NSA/Edward Snowden fiasco, companies are asking themselves how this may actually deliver value. Now what companies are learning is that non-public cloud solutions are giving enterprises the usability and adaptability of public cloud, while providing companies complete control and ownership. information technology consulting

 this is often so important within the enterprise where they need massive data centers and infrastructure already invested.

It’s crucial too for businesses to chop the hype far away from the cloud and ask what’s best for his or her business model? this is often the crucial bit – companies should be choosing a cloud deployment supported what best matches their business model, instead of trying to rearrange business models to suit a one-size-fits-all public cloud deployment. When it involves cloud, there are many options – the mantra that ‘cloud fits all’ just isn’t true. 

Let’s check out the tradeoff between control and infrastructure costs. A private cloud is assumed to be costlier than a public cloud, but that’s not always the case. At a particular scale, public cloud fees still balloon while private cloud becomes cheaper. due to the up-front cost of servers and equipment, many assume private cloud is pricier. except for many organizations, the equipment needed for personal cloud will actually buy itself in about 6 months. Public clouds could be affordable for smaller organizations but larger organizations have already got the economies of scale to implement private clouds more cost-effectively.

Don’t assume that having a personal cloud is going to be too expensive, it's going to be worthwhile within the end

Yet for those small businesses, being affordable doesn’t necessarily mean the cloud is that the answer. Horror stories just like the recent one where Box deleted a user's account without permission mean that companies who have business-critical data, regardless of how small they'll be, still back-up their data to local servers, just just in case. Worse still were the reported outages within the last 6 months from Office365, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, and SalesForce, which means that albeit your data isn’t in danger of a breach, your business can still come to a grinding halt by putting all of your eggs within the cloud-basket.

Additionally, it’s key to notice that not all private clouds are created equal; there are many various variations. In one instance it’s an on-premise solution where the corporate hosts all of the equipment. there's also a version where a personal cloud is hosted by a 3rd party. As long because the servers only host information from one business entity, the hosted version remains considered a private cloud.

Finally, the private cloud is experiencing A level of what you would possibly call “private cloud-washing.” Certain solutions are being advertised as a private cloud when a variety of their components, just like the administrative features or the authentication, are hosted within the public cloud. For companies watching the private cloud for security and privacy, it’s important to not be tricked by hidden public cloud processes.

So at the top of the day, ask yourself what proportion control you need over your business data, and the way much budget you've got, information technology education because clouds are available all forms. The key to understand is that if you’re concerned about security, whether from an property or regulatory compliance standpoint, the private cloud may be a better bet for your business model.