I got asked today about cloud computing, and the initial answer I gave drew a few gasps so I thought I’d post it here to gain some wider input.

Cloud computing is over-hyped.

I can really see the benefits for IT managers. Updates at a single point rather than on every network device, no platform compatibility checks, no constant updates to PC specifications – all of these make the IT managers life easier and simpler. The sticking point for me comes when I look at it from the view of an end user. I regularly travel, and so a large proportion of my work is done offline (in planes, trains and automobiles). With cloud computing, if I have no network, then I have no application, and I can’t work. I’m writing this from a train, and the only way I can do this is by using non-cloud technologies (is non-cloud clear blue sky?).

For contact centres, the discussion around cloud or non-cloud can (sorry…) cloud a more important issue – the usability of the application(s). If your agents have to spend excessive time on calls ‘tabbing’ between applications to get the information they need to solve a customer issue, then this is a bad experience for both the agent and the customer. The user experience design for contact centre applications should focus on simply and quickly allowing an agent to access information that they need – the technology should be a secondary choice.

A general rule of marketing is that we shouldn’t focus on the technology, but on the benefits it brings to end users. Marketing for cloud computing isn’t doing this currently.