Cloud computing is reaching the stage of maturity where there are some real examples of it out there in the enterprise world; which means that there are user experience examples too. Recently I was in discussion with some lawyers for one of the big firms that has adopted cloud computing and they were not a satisfied panel.
Cloud computing was slow, way too slow and as far as they could see, delivered them, the front line workers of this organisation, no advantage what so ever. Productivity had fallen because of the load times for applications was akin to a day spent on the M1 - a frustrating standstill.
Before cloud computing thin clients were going to revolutionise the user experience, drastically cut costs and make the CIO's life a whole lot better. I know two CIOs at very major organisations who won instant user support in their organisations by ripping thin client systems out and giving users the power and instant access to the applications they needed to run the logistics and government departments they worked for.
Equally though I know of utilities companies and retailers who have seen great savings from a move to a thin client environment. In the cloud, I've yet to have a CIO report that Salesforce.com adoption was a strategic mistake.
What the above complaint highlights is the importance of the user experience - if only to stop them moaning to a journalist at the weekends when the CIO cannot hear.
The focus on the user experience is imperative, because unhappy users look for someone to blame and if they are using their energy in a blame game, productivity diminishes. They look to blame the CIO. Out of respect for my readership, I urged those I met that it was probably the CFO who chose cloud computing because of the savings. This led a lot of questioning about the reasons why an organisation adopts cloud computing. CIOs and their C-level peers need to be transparent with the user base on what the business benefits are and how the savings it makes will be ploughed back into the organisation to the benefit of the user.