End user experience is vital to cloud take-up, says expert

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Computer Weekly columnists locate possible issue with cloud take-up.

Cloud computing has many advantages to traditional data storage models, especially with advances in the technology and the number of services available today: it’s cheaper, firstly, takes up less physical office space, and the outsourcing of the running costs and maintenance of a server to a third-party takes a lot of pressure off the resources of your company’s IT department.

And with this new stage of what Computer World UK columnists referred to this week as ‘cloud maturity’, the next focus has to be on improving the service for the end user.

"Just last week the Business IT Hub discussed the importance of CIOs (Chief Information Officers) addressing the customer end user experience when using a mobile device to procure from your organisation," the publication said. "Cloud computing too must have a strong focus on end user experience in its implementation."

And that’s important. Whether document storage is cheaper or more reliable in the cloud is irreverent to a user who cannot figure out a labyrinthine file hierarchy to find what they want. Similarly, trading more office space for outsourced records management is not a balanced swap if retrieving those records means navigating a clumsy front-end.

As Computer World notes, bad user experiences could affect the rate of cloud computing take up.

"Cloud computing has much to offer organisations, but if the end user experience is poor, take up will be poor and the technology could fail to deliver the opportunities it offers," they say. "Sadly there are already reports from some vertical markets of cloud technology taking their IT experience backwards."

How to avoid being lumbered with a poor user experience when taking up cloud services? As the Cloud Industry Forum’s Andy Burton noted earlier this week, more companies are requesting trial services from cloud providers before plumping for full adoption, a trend that could well continue until end user experiences are improved.

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