Cloud Computing Perspectives 3: The End User

In the final part of our “Cloud Perspectives” series, we’ll see how cloud is rising to meet a range of challenges faced (and actually posed by) end-users, and changing the way they interact with their applications and access data.

If you missed the previous two articles in this series, you can catch up here: Cloud Perspectives No.1: The Business Owner, and No.2: The IT Department.

The Challenge for the End-User

For the people using the services that cloud delivers, it’s all about getting things done: without frustration, faster, and in the way that suits them best. The end-user wants:

1. Reliable service and applications

2. A means of increasing their productivity

3. Freedom to access their applications and data wherever they are, on the device of their choice

The statement below may be equally familiar to you in your experience as an end-user, or as feedback to you in your role as an IT manager or business owner:

I need my applications to run quickly and reliably - any disruption impacts on my ability to do my job effectively, with clear knock-on effects for our business.

The Solution

What can cloud do to help meet the demands of the end-user for the improved performance, uptime and (increasingly) flexibility which are vital for business-critical applications?

1. How does cloud deliver application and service reliability?

  • We’ve already seen the improvements in reliability that IT departments can deliver thanks to the inherent dependability of a virtualised cloud environment…
  • All of which is boosted by the security and resilience of a purpose-built data centre…
  • The result? End-users have access to their “always-on” applications when they need them.

2. Cloud and improved end-user productivity

  • Aside from the obvious fact that improved application uptime is a great starting point for increasing productivity (if an application is unavailable, nobody — except a harassed IT worker — is going to be getting on with anything) we also saw from our look at cloud from the IT department perspective, that computing resources can be scaled up quickly to keep pace with user demand…
  • This means IT departments can stay ahead of the demand curve and reduce the risk of application performance being compromised.
  • The result? The end-user gets crisp, smooth applications to work with, even at peak demand times.

3. Cloud brings true flexibility to the end-user

  • Remote access to applications and data is nothing particularly new: the concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has been around for several years. As we’ve seen above though, the improvements in reliability and performance that cloud can offer as a deployment platform have helped the true potential of SaaS to be realised.
  • In addition, one of the most compelling abilities of cloud with regard to end-user computing is in meeting the challenges posed by the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)…
  • Smartphone, laptop, tablet, and not forgetting your trusty desktop(s) — think about the number of devices you might ideally use to access your data. This would be great for you as a user because it would allow you to work in the way that suits you best: on the move, at remote locations, even collaboratively. However, this proliferation of devices causes a big problem for IT teams who are left with a mountain of different platforms to manage and support, where data security is also a major concern. Through technologies such as synchronised virtualised desktops, cloud provides IT teams with the back-end tools to manage what would otherwise be a chaotic and unsustainable “extra” infrastructure, and provide end-users with controlled access to their data and applications.

Our end-user might summarise the benefits that cloud has brought to their working life as follows:

I know I can rely on my apps to be up and running when I need them, without slowdown or disruption. I spend less time on the phone to tech support, and more time getting on with what I need to get done - wherever I am, on the device of my choice.

Questions about cloud computing?

You’re welcome to contact us, or you might like to take a look at the “Cloud Answers” section of our website.

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