I attended a spectacular talk last month in London where John Higgins from Intellect gave an excellent presentation about the current and future ideas regarding the Government's ICT adoption (and commercial industry in general) towards a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and flexible way of working. Reducing our Nation's (and World's) carbon footprint is a hot topic in both the public and private sectors.
Businesses are looking for ways to lower their operating costs, become leaner and adopt a flexible approach to operating so that they can rapidly change direction and weather times of uncertainty. Being able to shift business focus swiftly is becoming an important differentiator to the competition too.
Many companies are looking to lower their carbon footprint and to become greener, either through society's demands, potential tax / compliance benefits or simply through a moral obligation to protect the environment, it's inevitable companies will be looking to the tech domain to help them achieve this. One technology area in particular is helping companies to drive this new future - Cloud Computing.
There are many companies who are reluctant to embrace cloud solutions, but for many others it has helped revolutionise their operating process meaning they can become leaner, greener and more profitable. Yet looking at high level numbers alone can often miss some important aspects of why moving to cloud based systems can be beneficial, both to the business and to the planet.
1. Cloud Computing is allowing businesses to reduce their reliance on internal hardware and infrastructure. This often has a real benefit in terms of reducing their maintenance costs and lowering their office carbon emissions. Fewer machines running in the office means less power consumption. (There is obviously a cost at the data centre level though).
2. Cloud Computing when combined with a Software As A Service payment model allows companies to only pay for what they use. This works well for businesses who experience spikes in usage or traffic. Scaling your systems up and down and therefore only paying for what you use has a real cost reducing benefit for many businesses. At an environmental level this means only using resource you absolutely need to use. No more 24/7 running of a server that's only used for two days a week.
3. Cloud Computing is also allowing businesses to transform their working environments. In many cases staff can work remotely, can access shared resources and can build in flexibility to their day to day work. This has another potential positive green effect. With fewer staff commuting to one single place of work the overall carbon footprint of the business can be lowered significantly.
Some companies have decided to have no dedicated office workplace; no central office where staff are expected to travel to. Instead they are making use of cloud technology and advancements in communications to keep the conversations open and services available whilst their staff work from home, the coffee shop or any other "connected" environment.
4. Cloud Computing opens up a huge amount of previously inaccessible resources for many businesses. Resources, processes and tools that once required thousands of pounds worth of technology and infrastructure can now be accessed utilising cloud based services. Not only is this opening up new business avenues and commercial models but it's also got a much wider social implication. Those members of society previously marginalised or excluded, maybe because of disabilities for example, now have the potential to become more engaged in Internet based business delivered through the cloud.
It's a very exciting time to be working in the Cloud Computing sector, especially the domain of Call Centres. I personally think we're just experiencing the start of the Cloud Computing era for Call Centres and related industries. In any industry though Cloud Computing is sure to be a major technological aid to help businesses ride out the unpredictable and unknown future of global climate change, emerging competitive markets and the global financial challenges many are facing.