Posts tagged ‘cloud services’

Monetizing the Internet of Things: Will All These Connected Devices Pay Off? #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Avangate

Author: Michael Ni, CMO/SVP, Marketing and Products, Avangate

Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that everything was getting “cloud-ified,” from photo sharing to customer relationship management, but the move to the cloud is actually a couple of years old these days. But now that we all have our documents stored in the cloud (and our heads out of the clouds), everybody’s looking for a clear path toward success in the latest trend: the Internet of Things.

Just like the cloud before it, the Internet of Things is now top of mind for software professionals. Its promise has been nascent for a long time: although Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio first appeared in 1946, connected devices like the FitBit and Apple Watch are just starting to get in the hands – or on the wrists – of everyday folks.

With broader adoption of connected devices come both opportunities and challenges. Even the companies that are able to sell IoT hardware successfully find themselves needing to develop and monetize complementary services to help users get the most out of their devices. And software-focused companies that don’t have devices need new a way to get in on the IoT and the billions it’s expected to bring in. That way is through data.

While the IoT started out with connected sensors, it soon became clear that simply sensing data wouldn’t be enough. Just like storing content in the cloud also required building interfaces that made it easy for users to access cloud content, IoT sensors now need to produce data that’s easy for people to find, understand and use. And because IoT data is so valuable (not to mention expensive), there needs to be a way for companies to monetize it. So if wave 1 of the IoT trend involved simply creating the sensors, wave 2 involves monetizing them and the data they create.

As a result, more and more software vendors have started staking a claim in the IoT. At Avangate, we’ve been helping companies like Bitdefender monetize their IoT offerings. Bitdefender offers a “security of things” solution called BOX, a small device that scans for IoT threats on a local WiFi connection. By monitoring the way your smart devices stay connected, BOX finds and protects against possible threats to your connected information. By helping Bitdefender easily monetize its entry into the IoT, including not only the device itself but also associated data, we’re showing the importance and ease of monetizing IoT devices and the data they produce.

And that’s the key: commerce absolutely has to run in the background of every IoT play. No matter how affordable a device is up front, or if streams of data are free for now, devices and data both cost a significant amount to create, maintain, and provide in ways that really work for consumer and business customers. As a result, to truly succeed in the IoT, software companies need to be able to package and sell data derived from connected devices in ways that will benefit other entities as well.

In the end, it’s clear that that the desperate need for IoT data monetization is actually a massive opportunity. Companies are still scrambling to create devices and support data, and not enough entities are thinking about how to monetize it. Those who find themselves able to successfully package and sell information in the IoT era may find themselves enjoying Salesforce style status and riding high on the wave of the future as the IoT truly takes off.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Avangate will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D48, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

CWF static banner

Top 5 Sources of Cloud Data Loss #CloudWF

Guest Blog with eFolder

“But it’s in the cloud, isn’t it backed up already?”

Author: Trace Ronning, Content Marketing Manager, eFolder

In 2015, businesses have continued their rapid adoption of cloud/SaaS applications with no signs of slowing down. A study completed by the Aberdeen Group concluded that 80% of businesses use at least one cloud application. Usage has also increased. In 2014, 51% of IT workloads took place in the cloud, marking it the first year that the cloud owned a majority of IT workloads according to Silicon Angle.

The advantages of the cloud are clear, with most companies experiencing greater employee productivity, mobility, and improved collaboration as a result of adopting cloud applications.

There is, however, one major issue that the cloud has not eliminated for organizations: data loss. While the inherent securities of SaaS services, such as Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce, and Box are minimizing outages and random data loss, human error is still the primary source of lost data. In 2013, 32% of companies using cloud services reported losing cloud data, an overwhelming majority of which came as a direct result of human intervention.

How exactly are businesses losing this cloud data, and how can they prevent it from happening again? Let’s take a dive into the top five sources of cloud data loss and find out.

1. User Error

We know that humans are not perfect. Checking in as the top reason for cloud data loss is user error, which accounts for 64% of all cloud data loss. The two primary examples of user error include accidental deletion or accidentally overwriting a file. We all make mistakes now and again, so it is ill-advised to operate under the assumption that by adopting cloud applications, people will become immune to the human condition and never lose a file again.

2. Hackers

Hackers, defined as outsiders who get into the system with nefarious intent, are responsible for 13% of all cloud data loss. As cloud adoption and usage has grown, so has a hacker’s willingness to attack companies of all sizes, not just giant enterprise businesses, such as Sony or Home Depot. As of now, 50% of data breaches occur at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, with the most common type of attacks consisting of a hacker breaking into an organization’s instance or acquiring administrator credentials. Malicious activity such as this often results in sensitive data being compromised, jeopardizing the customers of the company, as well as its ability to keep its doors open and continue doing business.

3. Closing an account

At 10%, the third most common kind of cloud data loss occurs when a business closes an account. We define this action as a user de-provisioning a user within a cloud application or discontinuing the service. Without deploying a backup service to save former users’ data or a solution that helps migrate data from one application to another, respectively, organizations run the risk of losing data in transition phases.

4. Malicious Delete

Think your business is immune to frustrated employees going rogue? Think again. 7% of all cloud data loss occurs when an employee intentionally deletes files or folders. This type of deletion is often initiated by an unhappy employee or a recently terminated employee who has retained access to organizational cloud applications and data. At all levels of a business there are examples of employees who don’t value company data as much as IT managers or executives do, especially in roles with high-turnover.

5. Third-Party Software

The fifth most common reason for cloud data loss is the unexpected result of using a third-party software on one of your SaaS applications. Occasionally, a data overwrite or deletion will occur when running third-party software. A classic example is a Salesforce administrator running Demand Tools and inaccurately identifying a prospect as a duplicate account and permanently deleting that prospect’s record. Third-party software is generally used to make daily use of the most common business applications easier, but sometimes the side-effects include the loss of important data.

How

You may be reading this blog post and thinking, “But if my data is in the cloud, can’t I just easily recover it if a file is deleted or overwritten? Why should I be concerned with cloud data backup?”

There is a common misconception that data is retained in the cloud forever, but that is simply not the case. Most cloud applications do keep some type of “recycling bin,” but this bin often has a storage limit, automatic purge function, or can be manually cleared.

Automated, off-site backup to a second cloud location is the most reliable way to ensure that the sensitive data you store in the cloud is recovered, regardless of which cloud data disaster hits your organization. By employing a solution that allows for full-text search across multiple cloud applications, direct, point-in-time data restores into the cloud application of choice, and a military-grade off-site backup location, your organization can both protect data, and empower IT admins to better use that data on a daily basis.

Don’t let cloud data loss become the problem you didn’t know you had. Make it the problem you know you that you’ll never have with cloud-to-cloud backup.

eFolder

Bryan Forrimageedit_2_7919550340ester, Senior VP of Sales at eFolder will be speaking on the 25th June at 12.35pm in Theatre D at the Cloud World Forum about the Top 5 Sources of Cloud Data Loss & How to Protect Your Organisation.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

 

REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE!

CWF static banner

Exclusive Interview Available with Mark Evans, Head of IT at Rider Levett Bucknall #CloudWF

imageedit_3_4837170161 Rider-Levett-Bucknall

Mark Evans, Head of IT, Rider Levett Bucknall.

Mark Evans is Head of IT at global property and construction practice Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), the largest employee-owned business consultancy in the Construction industry.

The Q&A presents the insight into supporting BYOD, the need for standards in the cloud sector and the impact of working with large data models on the technology choices the firm has to make.

View our exclusive interview with Mark here.

Having worked as an IT Manager in the NHS, a regional manager for Orange Personal Communications and Global Infrastructure Director for a container shipping company, Mark has operated in disparate industries, acquiring a broad overview of what actually works in business, as opposed to what works in a sales pitch.

Recognised as being outspoken on matters related to Cloud and acknowledged as a true, forward-thinking IT Director, Mark is happy to challenge the received wisdom with tenacity and a sense of humour – he doesn’t ‘do’ sales pitches, but offers a pragmatic view of what is really happening in the darkest corners of professional practise in business consultancy.

Don’t Miss… Mark will be speaking at the Cloud World Forum on the 25th June within the Keynote Theatre.

Register your free exhibition pass here.

CWF static banner

The channel must embrace cloud to build for the future #CloudWF

Channel-300x240With cloud acceptance growing, more and more businesses are dipping their toes in the water and trying out cloud based services and applications in a bid to work smarter and lower IT expenditure. But with recent research suggesting that four in ten ICT decision-makers feel their deployment fails to live up to the hype – more needs to be done to ensure cloud migration is a success.

This is where the channel has a vital role to play and can bridge the knowledge gap and help end-users reap the benefits that cloud technology can provide.

With the cloud becoming a mainstream solution for businesses and an integral part of an organisation’s IT strategy, the channel is presented with a huge opportunity. Offering cloud services to the market has the potential to yield high revenues, so it’s vital that the channel takes a realistic approach to adopting cloud within its portfolio, and becomes a trusted advisor to the end user.

We have identified three key reasons why resellers shy away from broadening their offering to encompass cloud for new and existing customers. A common barrier is a simple lack of understanding of the cloud and its benefits. However, if a business is keen to adopt this technology, it is vital that its reseller is able to offer advice and guidance to prevent them looking elsewhere.

Research by Opal back in 2010 found that 40 per cent of resellers admit a sense of ‘fear and confusion’ around cloud computing, with the apprehension to embrace the technology also extending to end users, with 57 per cent reporting uncertainty among their customer bases. This lack of education means they are missing out on huge opportunities for their business. A collaborative approach between the reseller and cloud vendor will help to ensure a seamless knowledge transfer followed by successful partnership and delivery.

The sheer upheaval caused by offering the cloud will see some resellers needing to re-evaluate their own business models and strategies to fulfil the need. Those that are unaccustomed to a service-oriented business model may find that becoming a cloud reseller presents strategic challenges as they rely on out-dated business plans and models that don’t enable this new technology. However, failing to evolve business models could leave resellers behind in the adoption curve, whilst their competitors are getting ahead. Working with an already established partner will help resellers re-evaluate their existing business plans to ensure they can offer cloud solutions to their customers.

Resellers are finding it challenging to provide their customers with quick, scalable cloud solutions due to the fact that moving existing technology services into cloud services can be time consuming, and staff will be focused on working to integrate these within the enterprise. However, this issue can easily be resolved by choosing a trusted cloud provider, and in turn building a successful partnership.

Although resellers will come across barriers when looking at providing their customers with cloud services, these shouldn’t get in the way of progression. In order to enter a successful partnership with a cloud provider, there are some important factors resellers should consider before taking the plunge.

Scalability

Before choosing a prospective partner, resellers need to ensure it has the scalability and technology innovation to provide a simple integration of current IT services into the cloud. Recent research has proved that deploying cloud services from three or more suppliers can damage a company’s business agility. UK businesses state a preference for procuring cloud services from a single supplier for ease of management. It’s important to make sure the chosen provider has the ability to provide one fully encompassed cloud service that can offer everything their customers require.

Brand reputation

Choosing a partner that offers not only a best-of breed private, public and hybrid cloud solution, but also has the ability to provide the reseller with a branded platform will give an extra layer of credibility to the business for not only existing customers, but future ones as well. Resellers are more likely to choose a cloud provider that gives them control over the appearance, as well as support and access to infrastructure of the cloud platform.

Industry experience

It’s vital to ensure the cloud provider has extensive industry experience and knowledge with a proven track record in order to meet the required criteria of scalability and performance. The partner must have the knowledge in order to educate and offer advice to the reseller. If they are able to do so, the reseller can therefore pass this knowledge on to their own customers.

By not offering the cloud, resellers will miss out on vast opportunities and in turn, lose potential revenue as well as new and existing customers. The channel must now embrace the cloud and take advantage of the partnerships available in order to succeed.

Written by Matthew Munson, CTO, Cube52

REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE!

CWF static banner

The Cloud World Forum visitor ticket is now officially published! #CloudWF

The Cloud World Forum 2015 visitor ticket is here! Download for the full agenda, speaker line-up, exhibition news, sponsor list and NEW visitor features…

CWF ticket cover

Download your copy to view the full agenda, speaker line-up, exhibition news, sponsor list and NEW visitor features. Start planning your day at the Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th and 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand, London.

DOWNLOAD YOUR VISITOR TICKET HERE!

 

Co-located with Enterprise Apps World, the Cloud World Forum 2015 theatres respond to the investment areas and trends discussed on 100+ calls with C-Level IT decision makers, operations and development teams, as well as the market’s leading technology pioneers.

The show’s content powers the digital enterprise through best practice in Cloud, IoT, DevOps, Data Analytics, Security and Comms & Collaboration end user case studies, as well as much, much more.

By expanding the show’s content in 2015, we ensure need-to-know information is delivered to meet the demands of the senior IT professionals attracted to our show.

This year there is a particular focus on enterprise application development and mobility, with a dedicated DevOps and Containers theatre, as well as two theatres running throughout the 24th and 25th June within Enterprise Apps World.

The Enterprise Mobility Strategies and Enterprise App Development theatres focus on strengthening organisations’ mobility, application and API strategies, in addition to teaching developers how to achieve that necessary edge in the lucrative and increasingly competitive enterprise market!

See you in June!

The Cloud World Forum Team.

REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE EXPO PASS HERE.

CWF static banner

Case Study examples of how present clients have been using nCrypted Cloud #CloudWF

Case Study examples of how present clients have been using nCrypted Cloudtumblr_inline_mo13ox62Ak1qz4rgp-300x225

Companies are struggling with how to maintain control over corporate data particularly on mobile devices when end users are using sync and share providers. So the big question is how can companies manage productivity, have the assurance of security whilst not disrupting employee workflow?

nCrypted cloud is an enterprise secure collaboration application that seamlessly integrates with cloud storage services to allow for secure BYOD, Cloud and mobility practices in the workplace. nCrypted Cloud enables mobile collaborating with file sharing security.

Here are some examples of how we are being used in different sectors of the market:

  • nCrypted Cloud recently helped Logical Outcomes to handle their sensitive data issues with a mobile workforce based in several countries. The company I am referring to are obsessed with security and they often work with personal and confidential data. So they designed a data security policy that ensured proper management of personal and confidential information at every stage, from data collection to analysis to archiving. It wasn’t easy but they had a legal and ethical responsibility to get it right. nCrypted Cloud enabled this company to encrypt private files and share encrypted data in Dropbox. They did this by stating that all projects were to be assigned one of three levels of information security – standard, enhanced and obsessive. At the minimum all projects would have standard level of security. If any personal information was added then this information would then have to be encrypted. Read more.
  • A fortune 100 company has been using nCrypted cloud within the healthcare industry for secure collaboration purposes. This large organisation wanted to be able to share sensitive data outside the organisation with a full audit trail. They also did not have a good way to share files with their external vendors. They were just about to purchase 5000 USB devices for the purposes of collecting medical information securely but replaced this with nCrypted Cloud Infinite Mail which is an extension plug in for Outlook. This reduced their postage costs as well.
  • In the insurance sector, a global insurance company wanted their brokers to transfer large data volumes to clients and also wanted to give employees the ability to send files and data securely especially to developing countries and to clients outside the corporation. One of their biggest problems for the European helpdesk was that their staff were using personal cloud services such as Dropbox to share corporate documents. The staff wanted to be able access files from any device and at any time however there was no audit trail as to where the companies information was. nCrypted Cloud gave them the ability to monitor and control data via corporate policies on access levels and also give the user ability to give the required permissions for whom will see the data, how long for and whether they have download capability or not as well as watermarking.
  • Lastly a university researcher from Browns University was conducting a sensitive piece of research in South Africa but the IT department within the University had strict rules and stated any information that was regulated, restricted, confidential or personally identifiable must be stored on a system owned and managed by the University. Added to this, a lot of the staff in South Africa were not computer literate and only had basic computer skills. The researcher is a Dropbox user and thought Dropbox is simple and easy to use and wouldn’t be too difficult to learn. Added to that, using Dropbox to store data on a device as well as in the cloud, which is important when collecting data in the field where Internet connectivity may be non-existent, and synchronized that data seamlessly with the cloud when an Internet connection was available. Dropbox’s simplicity contrasted with the solution offered by the university’s IT department. The researchers’ project had a number of folders and files which included large video, audio and word files, with their main concern for all involved was how to keep the data secure on the device in case they got stolen!  nCrypted Cloud was the solution because it encrypts data at rest and in transit, preserves the ease-of-use of DropBox and gives  project managers and network administrators, control over users and shared files. The data is also encrypted at the endpoints in a system, where an nCrypted Cloud client application resides. When a file needs to be used at an endpoint, the client decrypts the data for application use. So not only is the data encrypted but should a device be lost, access to data on that device can be removed. Read more.

nCrypted Cloud has a patented key management system which is deployed to protect data encrypted by nCrypted Cloud. For example, keys for unlocking an organisations data aren’t stored on nCrypted Cloud’s servers where they could be obtained by a third-party. The corporate private keys remain with the organisation and only the organisation public keys remain with nCrypted Cloud. For more information click here.

nCrypted Cloud

nCrypted Cloud is exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE!

CWF static banner

ISO 27018 and protecting personal information in the cloud: a first year scorecard #CloudWF

ISO 27018 has been around for a year – but is it effective?

Source: Business Cloud NewsData-protection

A year after it was published,  – the first international standard focusing on the protection of personal data in the public cloud – continues, unobtrusively and out of the spotlight, to move centre stage as the battle for cloud pre-eminence heats up.

At the highest level, this is a competitive field for those with the longest investment horizons and the deepest pockets – think million square foot data centres with 100,000+ servers using enough energy to power a city.  According to research firm Synergy, the cloud infrastructure services market – Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Services (PaaS) and private and hybrid cloud – was worth $16bn in 2014, up 50 per cent on 2013, and is predicted to grow 30 per cent to over $21bn in 2015. Synergy estimated that the four largest players accounted for 50 per cent of this market, with Amazon at 28 per cent, Microsoft at 11 per cent, IBM at 7 per cent and Google at 5 per cent.  Of these, Microsoft’s 2014 revenues almost doubled over 2013, whilst Amazon’s and IBM’s were each up by around half.

Significantly, the proportion of computing sourced from the cloud compared to on-premise is set to rise steeply: enterprise applications in the cloud accounted for one fifth of the total in 2014 and this is predicted to increase to one third by 2018.

This growth represents a huge increase year on year in the amount of personal data (PII or personally identifiable information) going into the cloud and the number of cloud customers contracting for the various and growing types of cloud services on offer. but as the cloud continues to grow at these startling rates, the biggest inhibitor to cloud services growth – trust about security of personal data in the cloud – continues to hog the headlines.

Under data protection law, the Cloud Service Customer (CSC) retains responsibility for ensuring that its PII processing complies with the applicable rules.  In the language of the EU Data Protection Directive, the CSC is the data controller.  In the language of ISO 27018, the CSC is either a PII principal (processing her own data) or a PII controller (processing other PII principals’ data).

Where a CSC contracts with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP), Article 17 the EU Data Protection Directive sets out how the relationship is to be governed. The CSC must have a written agreement with the CSP; must select a CSP providing ‘sufficient guarantees’ over the technical security measures and organizational measures governing PII in the Cloud service concerned; must ensure compliance with those measures; and must ensure that the CSP acts only on the CSC’s instructions.

As the pace of migration to the cloud quickens, the world of data protection law continues both to be fragmented – 100 countries have their own laws – and to move at a pace driven by the need to mediate all competing interests rather than the pace of market developments.

In this world of burgeoning cloud uptake, ISO 27018 is proving effective at bridging the gap between the dizzying pace of Cloud market development and the slow and uncertain rate of legislative change by providing CSCs with a workable degree of assurance in meeting their data protection law responsibilities.  Almost a year on from publication of the standard, Microsoft has become the first major CSP (in February 2015) to achieve ISO 27018 certification for its Microsoft Azure (IaaS/PaaS), Office 365 (PaaS/Saas) and Dynamics CRM Online (SaaS) services (verified by BSI, the British Standards Institution) and its Microsoft Intune SaaS services (verified by Bureau Veritas).

In the context of privacy and cloud services, ISO 27018 builds on other information security standards within the IS 27000 family. This layered, interlocking approach is proving supple enough in practice to deal with the increasingly wide array of cloud services. For example, it is not tied to any particular kind of cloud service and, as Microsoft’s certifications show, applies to IaaS (Azure), PaaS (Azure and Office 365) and SaaS (Office 365 and Intune). If, as shown in the graphic below, you consider computing services as a stack of layered elements ranging from networking (at the bottom of the stack) up through equipment and software to data (at the top), and that each of these elements can be carried out on premise or from the cloud (from left to right), then ISO 27018 is flexible enough to cater for all situations across the continuum.

Cloud-licenses-1024x528Indeed, the standard specifically states at Paragraph 5.1.1:

“Contractual agreements should clearly allocate responsibilities between the public cloud PII processor [i.e. the CSP], its sub-contractors and the cloud service customer, taking into account the type of cloud service in question (e.g. a service of an IaaS, PaaS or SaaS category of the cloud computing reference architecture).  For example, the allocation of responsibility for application layer controls may differ depending on whether the public cloud PII processor is providing a SaaS service or rather is providing a PaaS or IaaS service upon which the cloud service customer can build or layer its own applications.”

Equally, CSPs will generally not know whether their CSCs are sending PII to the cloud and, even if they do, they are unlikely to know whether or not particular data is PII. Here, another strength of ISO 27018 is that it applies regardless of whether particular data is, or is not, PII: certification simply assures the CSC that the service the CSP is providing is suitable for processing PII in relation to the performance by the CSP of its PII legal obligations.

Perhaps the biggest practical boon to the CSC however is the contractual certainty that ISO 27018 certification provides.  As more work migrates to the cloud, particularly in the enterprise space, the IT procurement functions of large customers will be following structured processes in order to meet the requirements of their business and, in certain cases, their regulators. In their requests for information, proposals and quotations from prospective CSPs, CSCs now have a range of interlocking standards including ISO 27018 to choose from in their statements of requirements for a particular Cloud procurement.  As well as short-circuiting the need for CSCs to spend time in writing up detailed specifications of their own requirements, verified compliance with these standards for the first time provides meaningful assurance and protection from risk around most aspects of cloud service provision. Organisations running competitive tenders can benchmark bidding CSPs against each other on their responses to these requirements, and then include as binding commitments the obligations to meet the requirements of the standards concerned in the contract when it is let.

In the cloud contract lifecycle, the flexibility provided by ISO 27018 certification, along with the contract and the CSP’s policy statements, goes beyond this to provide the CSC with a framework to discuss with the CSP on an ongoing basis the cloud PII measures taken and their adequacy.

In its first year, it is emerging that complying, and being seen to comply, with ISO 27018 is providing genuine assurance for CSCs in managing their data protection legal obligations.  This reassurance operates across the continuum of cloud services and through the procurement and contract lifecycle, regardless of whether or not any particular data is PII.  In customarily unobtrusive style, ISO 27018 is likely to go on being a ‘win’ for the standards world, cloud providers and their customers, and data protection regulators and policy makers around the world.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Visit the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register you free exhibition pass here.

CWF static banner

Exclusive Interview with Goran Car, Head of Strategic Business Unit and CTO, ComCloud in Combis #telcocloud

imageedit_9_8129103358ComCloud_Logo-474x325

We interviewed our speaker Goran Car, Head of Strategic Business Unit and CTO ComCloud in Combis, on trends and development which are shaping Cloud market today and tomorrow.

THE INTERVIEW


What is the latest telco cloud project you are working on? Please tell us more about it.

Our Cloud solution ComCloud is a telco oriented, comprehensive and modular Cloud solution which provides facilities for automated provision of Cloud services and infrastructure management via self-service portals.

We are in the process of finishing a project for HT Eronet in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one incumbent telecom within EU. Both are Public Cloud projects with Marketplace and SSO enablers and basic IaaS services. In coming months it will be extended with additional services and different SaaS offerings.

Within the projects we tried to give the most that Cloud can give, taking into account customer wishes, of course.

For more information visit my lecture ‘Where Have All the Marketplaces Gone’. I will talk about best practice examples, guidelines and ideas how to utilize marketplace, as the most common centerpiece of Cloud selling strategies, in the best, most appealing and market-specific way, how to utilize marketplace in geographically-bound markets and how to make successful go-to-market strategy and maximize potential of Cloud services.

What telcos need to work on to provide best-in-class cloud?

We believe that user experience is crucial. Customer must be provided with best-in-class experience. Consumer is conditio sine qua non.

Consumerization is a very well-known trend, but it must be taken to next level in providing (business) Cloud services. Seamless integration of Marketplace and services, responsive web, subject-action relationship instead of classic action-subject web are all crucial elements for providing modern Cloud services. Technology is available to everybody, so what we feel will drive future Cloud business are experience and bundled offers.

We were thinking about trends and we have developed a solution which offers extensive customer experience, enabling service providers to efficiently distribute their Cloud services, and users to effectively self-manage them. Customers are thus able to manage their resources more promptly and thoroughly in order to adapt expenses to their actual needs. At the same time, the system provides service providers with an opportunity to expand into new markets more easily, removing all physical barriers which prevented them to do so until now.

What do you think is going to be the next big ‘thing’ in the telco cloud market?

I believe that there will be greater way of interworking, both between different Cloud services and customer’s internal IT. Moreover, customers will have the possibility to move between services more easily and configure more than one service together in greater solution.

For instance, we are experimenting with setting up virtual network service, being able to connect different services by usage of self-service portal.  It is important to constantly think of the needs of end users and to think innovatively.

What is your favorite book or film about the future of technologies?

It might not be so much about future of technology, but I really like Brian Green’s “The Elegant Universe”. It sets a theory, that when and if proved and detailed, it can open a completely new view on building things and technology that was once considered impossible.

REGISTER YOUR FREE PASS HERE.


 

cloud-telco-646x200

Goran Car will held a lecture ‘Where Have All the Marketplaces Gone’ on Wednesday, 29th of April, at 12:40 in Ballroom, Radisson Blu Portman, London.

The future call centre: 10 predictions for the next 10 years

Guest Blog with NewVoiceMedia

Video-service-198x300What will the call centre of 2025 look like?

Well, to start with, it’s unlikely to be a physical ‘centre’ anymore. The rise of cloud technology is predicted to lead to an increase in remote working. But this move outside the office walls is far from businesses shunning the contact centre.

The omnipresent eye of social media has put companies in the limelight – for good and for bad, pushing customer service right to the top of the priority list. As a result,  looks set to become a key differentiator from now onwards, and the call centre will be at the forefront of this strategy.

Here we explore the trends that look set to transform the call centre in ten years’ time.

1. The call center will become a ‘relationship hub’

For years, many have considered the call centre as a way of dealing with immediate problems. This led to a short-term strategy of dealing with one customer emergency after another – reacting instead of adapting to the needs of the customer. Instead of picking up the pieces when things go wrong, we predict that the contact centre will become an integral part of business strategy, acting as a ‘relationship hub’.

Contact centre agents are the first to know if something isn’t working and are therefore perfectly poised to advise the business. It’s the people on the other end of the phone that know what the customers really think. Customer service can be seen as an afterthought – what happens after the marketing department has reeled them in, but really, it should be part of every stage of business development, supplying sales and marketing with repeat purchasers and advocates, as well as an essential data point for product management and development.

2. Customer service agents will become ‘super agents’

As the call centre becomes an increasingly important part of the business, so do the people that work there. They will need to adapt their skillset to meet the demands of the future customer and the expectations directors place on the contact centre. Plus, with the rise of ‘self-help’ and user communities, only the most complex problems will end up in a call centre. Agents will need to be ready to tackle challenging issues and be able to unpick the situation to pinpoint what exactly went wrong.

It’s therefore not surprising that in the next ten years, the average customer service agent will need to have a much wider range of skills. Aside from excellent communication skills, they’ll need analytical problem-solving skills, project management – and in some cases, technical training, in order to understand the finer details of the product or service. Alongside all of this, customer service agents will need to be able to adapt to changes in technology – from becoming an expert in every new app and social network, to utilising the increasing range of data on their CRM.

3. Call routing systems will find the ‘perfect match’ 

Intelligent call-routing is already available now, but it’s predicted to grow in the next ten years – matching the customer with the right expert almost instantly. As CRM and workflow management systems develop, a complex ‘match-making’ process will occur every time a customer calls, to ensure the right expert is on hand to solve every problem. Many also believe that organisations will begin to publish their agents’ availability online, so that customers can pick the agent that best suits their needs and call them directly.

4. Web chat will become an increasingly popular customer service channel

It can be frustrating to be on the other end of a phone – whether you’re an agent or a customer, the channel has its limits. The success of Amazon Mayday has made video-based live chat a real possibility. The channel has huge potential, because it allows agents to develop a more personal connection with customers through face-to-face chat. Plus, have you ever wanted to show a customer how something works? With video chat, this becomes a possibility. It also eliminates the idea of being put on hold – even if the agent isn’t speaking, the customer is connected via the visual feed. Video web chat also allows contact centres to anticipate problems as customers navigate their website and ensure the right agent pops up at the right time.

5. Customer service will become the key differentiator

With the rise of intangible products, which only exist via your mobile or laptop, customer experience is becoming more important as a differentiator. Consumers don’t just want great customer service, they demand it. In the UK, half of consumers said they would buy from a competitor as the result of poor customer experience. This is similar in the US, with 44% of consumers taking their business elsewhere as a result of inadequate service.

Plus, with the death of sustainable competitive advantage, companies can no longer rely on their well-defined niche to keep them ahead. The elusive ‘experience’ becomes more important and customer service moves straight to the top of the agenda. Add to this the growth of social media and customer service has transformed from a one-to-one interaction to a public conversation. With customer service becoming this transparent, companies have realised they need to up their game. You can no longer hide bad customer service behind closed doors; every business has an online footprint of their successes and failures for all to see. As a result, companies will start to compete to offer the best customer service – with social media recommendations being the ultimate prize.

6. Mobile is the future – for customer service agents and customers

According to the Economist, mobile apps are predicted to become the second most important channel for engaging with brands – just behind social media. And it’s not just about apps, as the mobile phone becomes an increasingly important part of everyday life. It’s how your customers are most likely to get in contact with you – via email, live chat, social media or in a voice call. Companies need to optimise their mobile functionality for this – particularly by allowing customers to multi-task on their mobile. For instance, being able to read the FAQs page while on the phone to the customer service agent. Your customer service agents will make the same demands for mobile. Being able to access a mobile CRM is a key ingredient for flexible working.

7. Expect channel preferences to change (and change again)

As consumers demand a personalised approach to just about everything – they expect to be able to mix & match the customer service channels to create a tailor-made service. However, it’s becoming increasingly hard to predict and plan for the channel-hopping. That’s why we predict that whatever the preference is at the moment, it will change in the next ten years – probably several times. How contact centres are able to adapt to customers switching between channels will determine their success.

This is particularly true if businesses want to appeal to the millennial generation, who are notorious for channel-switching, as they move from mobile to tablet to laptop, all in a matter of hours. Being able to follow those channel hops while maintaining the context of the interaction is key to customer service success. And it’s not just about keeping up with the change in device or channel, businesses need to keep up with the technology itself. New apps and social networks are launched all the time – WhatsApp is a great example of a channel that’s taken off rapidly and is becoming a popular choice for customer service.

8. Voice biometrics will replace security questions

“What’s your mother’s maiden name?” is one of many common security questions, but in the next ten years, it’ll be more about how the customer answers a question than the answer itself which confirms their identity. Gathering the unique ‘voiceprints’ of your customers could be the answer to security problems, as voice biometrics technology develops. It’s much harder to replicate the human voice than it is to steal facts about a customer. Voice biometrics record the intricacies of the human voice – from picking up on the size and shape of the mouth to the tension of the vocal cords.

9. Remote working and location-based services will increase

With the rise of cloud-based SaaS, having all your agents in one place is no longer necessary. It’s actually much more than unnecessary – switching to remote working agents has lots of benefits. This approach can reduce the costs associated with running a call centre and give employees greater flexibility. It is predicted that the growing number of virtual call centres could lead to more location-based services. For instance, a customer calling a company could be automatically connected to an agent working remotely a few miles from their location. The agent could even arrange to meet the customer if necessary, which could be very useful for certain sectors.

10. The “internet of things”

Described by many as the third great wave of computing – the “internet of things” or the “internet of everything” could change the way the world works. With more and more devices being able to connect to other devices or people independently, it gives rise to a world where almost everything is connected. This could have huge implications for the contact centre, enabling businesses to deliver pre-emptive service. For instance, if a patient’s heart monitor is over-heating, the device could send an automated service request to the right team. On a more domestic level, washing machines may be able to self-diagnose problems and notify the manufacturer when the part needs replacing – taking the customer out of the equation altogether.

The implication is that attitudes will shift – instead of buying a product, consumers will be buying a product with built-in customer service, raising the stakes for getting service right.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

NewVoiceMedia are Salesforce Pavillion Partner and exhibitors at Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

CWF static banner

 

Fujitsu partners with Equinix on Singapore cloud datacentre #cloudasia

Source: Business Cloud News

imageedit_9_3495507463

Fujitsu has set up another datacentre in Singapore this week amidst what it sees as increasing demand for cloud services in Singapore and neighbouring countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The datacentre, hosted in Equinix’s western Singapore facility, will host Fujitsu’s portfolio of cloud services and offer a number of new connectivity features “currently under development” that would allow enterprises to federate with other cloud platforms.

The recently announced datacentre is Fujitsu’s third in Singapore, and it already operates over 100 worldwide; the company’s cloud services are hosted from six datacentres globally.

The company said it chose to add another datacentre in Singapore because of its strategic location and attractiveness to large multinational firms.

“In recent years, companies increasingly are embracing cloud services as a platform to support the accelerating pace of business in Asia. In particular, because of its low level of natural disaster related risk and its position as an international network hub with reliable broadband network lines, Singapore is often chosen as the location for integrated systems operations by many companies that are pursuing multinational business expansion,” the company said in a statement.

Fujitsu is the latest cloud vendor to view Singapore as a relatively untapped market for cloud services. This week CenturyLink, which recently expanded its managed services presence in China, added public cloud nodes to one of its Singapore datacentres.

Apart from locally established multinationals and the booming financial services sector, the Singapore Government has also shown itself to be looking to invest more in both using cloud services and growing usage of cloud platforms in the region.

According to Parallels, local SMBs are also hopping onto cloud platforms with reasonable pace. The firm believes the SMB cloud services market in Singapore is projected to hit $916M in 2017, with a three-year CAGR of 21 per cent.


 

15939-CAF-728x90-web-banner

Hear more about Cloud Asia at the Cloud Asia Forum taking place on 8th & 9th December 2015 at Mira Hong Kong!

PRE-REGISTER HERE.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: