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Cloud of Clouds: solving business challenges

Many of the challenges that businesses face can be solved using the Cloud of Clouds. This is what the BT Global Services UK corporates president Ashish Gupta explained in Essential Retail recently. Whether it’s juggling multiple networks, dealing with unexpected demand, securing your network or giving your customers a good experience, Cloud of Clouds can help.

‘The retail CIO is in the thick of it,’ Ashish said. ‘He or she needs to support new trading models but also keep the existing plates spinning.’

Keeping on top of it all

‘In store, [retail CIOs are] embracing exciting new ideas to attract increasingly fickle shoppers, with interactive signage, intelligent mirrors in the fitting room, mobile service points and personal shopping assistants, as well as free Wi-Fi,’ said Ashish. ‘Behind the scenes, there's RFID-enabled logistics and the ongoing struggle to stitch multiple fulfilment channels into a seamless whole.’

Retailers can manage the underlying data and applications supporting these systems through the cloud. But if these clouds work independently of each other, they can create hassle for the CIO to manage. Ashish recalls one retail CIO who said that managing so many networks made him feel more like he was running a phone company than a retailer. To solve this problem, he and other retailers should consider accessing all their cloud-based systems, wherever they are hosted, from a central hub – a Cloud of Clouds — with a single provider acting as adjudicator.

Keeping your business running

Retailers, more than most, know how a single day can cause chaos. In 2014, Black Friday was unexpectedly huge – both online and in store. Many retailers just couldn’t cope with the sudden influx of customers.

Cloud can help, Ashish said. ‘Cloud services can be switched on and off at short notice, helping to respond quickly to unforeseen trends, ramp up for seasonal demand or open up temporary outlets.’ And because it tends to be ‘pay as you go’, you don’t need to invest in the equipment.

While the cloud helps immensely, it can be difficult if you need to ramp up multiple services at once. By gathering these services together within a Cloud of Clouds, you can manage them simultaneously.

Keeping it all secure

Attacks will happen. More than one in three enterprises suffered a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack between 2013 and 2014. And 80 per cent of the time, they were attacked more than once. That’s now to be expected, Ashish explained. You can be prepared for this with the help of an enterprise-grade cloud, rather than one designed for consumers. Enterprise-grade clouds are going to be inherently secure. More secure than in-house systems. And with a single provider helping you choose which services to use and how to protect them, they can advise you about whether you systems are secure enough.

Keeping your customers happy

With all these different services, it can be hard to keep the customer’s experience consistent. The quality can change between what’s in store and what’s online or what’s for the customer and what’s for the employee.

‘The only way to guarantee a good experience for all is with a single, end-to-end global network that can prioritise applications, manage access to data and optimise traffic. That’s where BT’s Cloud of Clouds approach can help,’ Ashish concluded.

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