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The cloud is broadening its horizons

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Cloud technology is no longer the new kid on the block, writes Jed Hewson, co-founder and joint CEO of 1Stream.
It has slowly and steadily infiltrated almost all aspects of our lives, from personal device storage to large-scale enterprise management systems, bringing with it convenience, but more importantly for businesses, cost savings and agility.

Life – and work – in the cloud
The cloud has given rise to a new niche market within the IT space: one where cloud service providers remove the traditional IT-related headache that typically arises when businesses need internal infrastructure and systems.
The advent of cloud technology has meant that instead of incurring the extensive costs associated with buying and managing internal systems, businesses can achieve the desired economy of scale with the deployment of cloud services, while making use of the comprehensive infrastructure available through service providers.
But the cloud is evolving. It is opening up new possibilities for businesses, particularly in the contact centre.

Getting more from the cloud
While smaller local players have brought cloud capabilities to the South African market, there remain significant challenges when it comes to implementing new technology and channels into the contact centre environment.
Chatbots, artificial intelligence, voice biometrics, agentless interactions – these are all real possibilities, but they remain out of reach for many businesses due to cost and local infrastructure limitations.
However, larger providers such as Google, IBM and Microsoft are able to offer a wider range of services with greater ease than their smaller counterparts. With the financial backing and technological capabilities that comes with these giants, the opportunities they are able to leverage are infinite.
Indeed, these industry behemoths could be viewed as a potential threat, but the reality is quite different for savvy cloud providers willing to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy.
Instead of competing with the technology giants, their capabilities should be harnessed by local service providers, and incorporated into a service offering that suits this market. It means that cloud service providers are able to offer clients an enhanced service – with all the latest technology – on a pay-per-use agreement, and without having to set up and manage cumbersome and costly infrastructure.
There’s no doubt that this is the new era of the cloud: one which is efficient, lean and competitive. Businesses have the opportunity to benefit from the latest and greatest in terms of what these large technology providers have to offer, while receiving the personalised service from the local service providers who continue to manage the deployment and technical aspects of the system implementation.