Humanizing the Cloud

by: Ken Stephens, Xerox Senior Vice President of Cloud Services

It’s easy to get lost in the business of cloud and enterprise data management, even for this audience. We get so focused on the technological aspects of making the cloud work for our clients that we may not consider the real-life impact it makes on us outside of the data center.

Ever since we acquired Affiliated Computer Services in 2010 Xerox has operated in unexpected places – we moved from technology provider to the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management. So with that in mind, I’d like to highlight ways the cloud is having real-life implications in unexpected places.

We’ve all flown on a plane – in fact, you may be reading this at the airport or in the air if you’re lucky enough to have Wi-fi. But do you ever stop and think about what goes into airline communications? According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), during a flight from Los Angeles to Baltimore pilots will talk to 28 controllers in 11 facilities. That doesn’t seem like a big deal at first glance, but consider the fact that most of this communication occurs on different systems, and with different technologies. Imagine having to make 28 calls on 28 different phones! I realize this is a dramatization of sorts, but it helps illustrate the point. So at this point you’re probably asking yourself, “What does all of this have to do with the cloud?” We recently partnered with an airline software provider to create a solution that blends our cloud capabilities with their data expertise enabling these disparate communication systems to work together seamlessly–helping transmit important data and key transmissions from airlines to other carriers and countless flight authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The airline industry has been a laggard in adopting cloud technologies and there is a real opportunity for vendors to create efficient-solutions, because more efficient communications means more peace of mind.

Now let’s look at emergency services. We recently created a cloud-based, SaaS product that’s being used in 1,400 firehouses across the country and makes it easier for firefighters to complete the paperwork that accompanies every fire or medical emergency they attend to, so they can get back to the real work that matters–saving lives. The software makes managing information and records from initial call to the final report simpler. This is just another example of humanizing the cloud in an unexpected way that is leading to amazing real-life results.

And you don’t have to look at major operations like the airline industry or firehouses to see the real-world impact of the cloud- a simple look at a local small business will also do the trick.

While many SMB executives understand the value of the cloud and its potential benefits, they’re faced with a market that is fragmented, confusing and potentially risky if the wrong vendor is selected. Vendors should be helping small and mid-sized businesses understand the cloud and how it can benefit them. When the local hardware store can utilize the cloud similar to that of a big-box store, it levels the playing field and helps them compete. Adding certain IT infrastructure as a service, for example, rather than making major capital investments on equipment helps them preserve cash flow, and stay focused on what they do best – serve their customers.

It’s nice to step back from time to time and reflect on the work we are all doing in this space. When we decide to employ a cloud solution that enables our employees to work more efficiently, what we are really doing is helping our employees finish their work so they can go home and be with their families. And when we work hard to ensure our cloud services are rock-solid and secure, we’re really helping that small business down the street do business worry-free. And when we implement the cloud in unexpected places we’re helping everything from airlines to emergency services. So take a moment to think about how the cloud recently impacted your every-day life, and share with us in the comments below.

Ken Stephens, Senior Vice President, Cloud Services, Xerox Business Services, LLC

Ken Stephens is senior vice president of Business Cloud Services for Xerox. As the company’s senior executive responsible for cloud computing, he leads the company’s focus on increasing our footprint in this market. Stephens’ team is close to the market demands of cloud computing since they touch sales, product management, and development. The company’s cloud unit is responsible for focused cloud sales, which involves our value-added reseller (VAR) relationships and the company’s expanded sales network.

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