How Cloud Computing is Enabling Omni-Channel Experiences

Cloud computing – in a sentence – is essentially storage/hardware/data that is made accessible by the internet. You can access your data from any internet enabled device. The implications of this however, are extremely complicated and cannot be put into a single sentence.

Dean Paron in last week’s guest lecture spoke about the use of cloud computing in terms of enterprise – i.e. large organisations moving their data and applications to the cloud. This to me, is the more expected use of the cloud – to make monetary savings on physical storage for large organisations.

However, the underlying advantage of cloud computing lies in the enablement of an omni-channel experience – the ability to access what you want, when you want, from any device you want.

The omni-channel experience essentially allows a person to use multiple devices to complete a transaction or activity – all while being able to access the latest version of the data. Think about how you use Facebook Messenger on your laptop, and then switch to the Facebook Messenger app on your phone and are able to continue the same conversation on the app.

As technology continues to blur the lines between our physical and virtual worlds, omni-channel/integrated experiences will become increasingly important in maintaining and improving user/customer engagement. Organisations that fail to adopt cloud computing, and as a result, fail to create integrated experiences for their customers will be left behind.

The convenience and accessibility that cloud computing offers can be used in almost any industry, and for almost any purpose. In healthcare, it can be used to access patient data in a timely manner on an iPad or iPhone ( ; in retail, it can be used to enable a better customer experience for online shopping – browse on the website, complete the transaction on the mobile app ( ; in everyday life, it can be used by anyone to access their personal files – think Dropbox – (

There are several companies that offer infrastructure-as-a-service such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure – but it is no longer enough to simply use the cloud to make monetary savings on infrastructure. The competitive edge for businesses is created when they leverage the full extent of the cloud and create amazing, integrated, omni-channel experiences for their customers.

While cloud computing and omni-channel experiences can seem like an easy fix-it for the instant gratification era, we must also be mindful that we are now dealing with enormous amounts of sensitive data that must be captured, stored and archived/deleted in a responsible manner – specifically in areas such as healthcare where personally identifiable information is stored/shared.  This article – – talks about the 5 risks associated with cloud computing – and most of them relate to security and privacy of customer and business data. While physical security is a must at data centres (cameras, security guards, high fences, biometric identification etc.) we also need to focus on securing the data itself through encryption/anonymisation of data, access controls, legal and compliance frameworks etc.

To sum up, cloud computing has opened up an avenue for organisations to not only make enormous savings on traditional infrastructure costs, but create competitive advantage by enabling an integrated/omni-channel experience for their customers. As long as proper attention is paid to securely capturing/storing and deleting/archiving data, cloud computing can and should be leveraged to its full extent.


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