We list five of the most unusual business uses for cloud from keeping animals fed and happy to bringing the written word to life
1. Keeping animals fed and happy
Managing director Adam Taylor says PetShop.co.uk is the first UK-based company in the pet sector to move to an entirely cloud-based infrastructure. With the help of BT Business, the firm’s on-demand system allows employees to manage workflow, and for customers to engage with staff and tailor their orders. “The cloud has helped us cope with rapid growth to offer the very best experience,” says Mr Taylor.
2. Removing the risk of data processing
While executives at some heavily governed firms run scared from the cloud, First Utility chief information officer Bill Wilkins has embraced on-demand IT. The approach extends to data processing. Rather than store credit card numbers in house, Mr Wilkins uses a third party to process data through a secure payment gateway. “We’ve taken a very conscious approach and have tried to avoid handling sensitive data as much as possible,” he says.
3. Using mobile apps to drive change
Finance firms have also started exploring the power of the cloud. William Fellows, co-founder and vice president at 451 Research, says smart executives recognise the power of combining consumer IT with on-demand services. He cites the Royal Bank of Scotland that recognised its busiest branch in 2014 was the 7:01 from Reading to London Paddington. More than 167,000 customers now use the RBS mobile banking app on the commute to work every day.
4. Combining information sources
Business credit specialist Graydon is using cloud-based business intelligence from Birst to bring together information sources across marketing, sales, human resources and finance. Bart Redder, group customer relationship management and intelligence director at Graydon, says the approach gives business leaders a single, daily insight into cross-company performance. He says: “The sources now contribute equally to greater strategic goals and insights, which wouldn’t have been possible if the analytics were run in the cloud separately.”
5. Bringing the written word to life
Independent publisher Faber & Faber, which has published books by twelve Nobel Laureates and six Booker Prize winners, is using cloud platform Box to manage incoming manuscripts from draft to final approval. Jim Lindsay, integration specialist at Faber & Faber, says the system is helping the firm embrace the digital world. “Content is central to what we do and cloud computing makes content easily accessible for all staff, no matter where they are in the world,” he says.