Most organisations are aware of the vast potential of cloud services in enhancing the customer experience, with 94% of respondents stating that cloud has an important role to play.

Despite this widespread recognition, adoption of cloud technology for customer engagement remains low overall, with businesses needing to do more to secure the boost to competitive advantage that cloud can bring.

New research from Aspect Software and the Cloud Industry Forum, “Clear Skies for Customer Service “, surveyed 100 C-suite decision-makers in both IT and non-IT roles, from organisations with over 1 000 employees across multiple sectors.

Despite almost unanimous agreement about the importance of cloud in improving customer engagement and driving the overall customer experience, many organisations are failing to take full advantage of the technology, with only 37% of IT leaders saying that their organisation currently uses a cloud-based system.

This points to a clear disparity between an awareness of cloud’s benefits and attempts to bring the technology into effect.

Stephen Ball, senior vice-president: Europe and Africa at Aspect Software, says: “The evolution of digital technologies has completely changed how consumers are engaging with companies, whether they are purchasing a product or service, making an enquiry or requesting live help and support.

“The research reveals that although organisations are aware of the potential for cloud to bring greater efficiency and a more joined-up customer experience, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to bridge this gap between perceptions and actually having the technology in place.”

When it comes to planning for the introduction of cloud, just 26% of IT decision-makers envisage the arrival of new cloud-based solutions over the next year. However, for those outside the IT department, this figure stands at 78%. For Ball, this difference in viewpoint underlines a need for more effective communication and collaboration between C-suite executives across the business, so that any barriers to cloud implementation can be overcome.

He adds: “Cloud has the power to streamline processes and make life easier for employees at all parts of the customer experience, whether this be through the ability to store customer query information in a single and easily accessible place, better self-service facilities, or simply a contact centre solution that is able to scale up and down according to the needs of the business.

“To make cloud the norm rather than the exception, it is crucial that leaders in both IT and non-IT positions work closely with one another, in order to understand each other’s challenges and work out a way to deploy cloud technology more readily.”

Ball concludes: “Any business that wants to maintain strong customer relationships and cement its positive reputation should prioritise the optimisation of the customer experience.

“Cloud can be a hugely powerful tool in achieving this, but the rewards of the technology cannot be reaped without a unified implementation strategy that has buy-in from key decision-makers in all areas of the business. If this can be achieved, cloud can be instrumental in helping organisations remain competitive in a volatile and rapidly evolving commercial world.”