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I imagine that for some CEOs, cloud computing remains too nebulous (pun intended, that is, in the form of a cloud or haze) to have practical impact and business value. A few years ago, cloud computing sounded more like a centralized data storage, such as that provided by Dropbox, Drive and iCloud. So instead of relying on our personal (local) hard drive, we can draw on a far greater space for whatever document, image or video we want to store. But these days, cloud computing provides far more: It is an online access to a wide range of computer services and resources. So the definition of what cloud computing is, in a nutshell, has evolved.
That said, I wondered what mechanisms more specifically does cloud computing offer or enable for engaging more effectively with customers.
Here is my take: At a fundamental level, cloud computing allows colleagues and managers to share their knowledge, for example, from files stored in a place that they can access. Of course, for true learning to take place, they would have to (a) reflect on and talk through whatever is contained in those files, (b) make sense of it and draw conclusions, then (c) take better informed, coordinated action on issues. I suspect that T-Mobile, the case example that Tim Minihan from SAP spoke to, drew on this cloud-enabled learning to gather critical data on customer churn and employed cloud-based analytic tools to identify factors that directly impacted churn. In this case, then, cloud computing helped T-Mobile better engage customers who were at risk for leaving.