Teleware’s CEO Steve Haworth discusses the pros and cons of being ‘born in the cloud’ and why he believes it would be naïve for businesses to rule out cloud services.
How has the cloud market evolved over the past few years?
We have observed a move from talking about the cloud and early adopters to seeing it going mainstream. In cloud communications we have seen growth in the last six months greater than the last two years and this trend looks set to continue.
The explosion of data has driven huge growth and requirements in data storage as people begin to work through the potential value of collecting and mining data from multiple sources.
What cloud services do you offer?
TeleWare offers a range of business communications software in the cloud enabling companies to communicate better with their customers. Our applications enable businesses to route, record and analyse their communications to improve customer experience, governance and compliance.
What types of customers do you work with?
We work with partners to address the entire business market from the largest global banks to the sole trader. The beauty of cloud services is that it scales both up and down and resources can be purchased based on current needs. A lot of what we do now is based around mobile working so there isn’t any need for lots of expensive and complex infrastructure.
There are some startups born in the cloud. What are the benefits and disadvantages of this?
The benefit of any start-up is focus. ‘Born in the cloud’ enables companies to focus processes and development on their cloud services, they have one code base to manage and can provide regular updates. The cloud offers great opportunity to test new features and monitor usage and popularity before making them more widely available.
The downside is to underestimate the knowledge, experience and intellectual property that comes from an established business. Microsoft has a lot of software capability and a broad customer base that they can leverage. Its software business is still hugely profitable and enables them to invest heavily in research and development.
What would you say to anyone that is not interested in using the cloud?
I think that it would be naïve to rule out any broad area of technology as they tend to merge together and leave you standing on a technological island at some point. Many cloud-based services will come into your business whether you plan for it or not. Mobile devices connect to these services all the time so you may find that by trying to avoid it you are in fact ceding all control and security to your employees and that is not a very wise thing to do.
What about those who are not interested in selling cloud services?
Selling cloud services is a more complex question as businesses need to make the shift from large capital sales to monthly subscriptions and make sure that they are adding value. Many of the cloud-based services have different models for resellers so make sure that you can still earn money in the longer term and are not just being used as an introduction to your customer base. You should look for partners who are interested in building your business and not just promoting their services.
Is cloud right for everyone?
Almost all businesses can benefit from the cloud. I think the larger enterprises will get more benefit from hybrid implementations where they can use the cloud for some elements and their own services for others. Some businesses may benefit from being 100 per cent in the cloud. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but everyone can benefit from the cloud in one form or another.
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