What's a Customer Cloud?

Posted Monday, December 9, 2013 in Online, Mobile & IT by Patricia Seybold

A Customer Cloud is the on demand computing infrastructure that enables your customers to securely manage their stuff and their projects from their mobile devices and/or from their computers. Customers expect their data and their transaction histories to be available to them 24x7 from anywhere in the world and accessible from any device. Today's customers now expect to have their customer data and applications hosted in secure private clouds and accessed by secure private networks. Customers need to have their own information at their fingertips from their mobile phones and tablets.

Business customers and consumer customers dealing with your firm want the same ease of access, consistency of information, currency of updates, and synchronization of information across their various devices that they’ve learned to expect from the leading consumer cloud brands. For better or worse, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have set the bar for what customers expect when it comes to interacting with the Cloud. 

If you don’t take your customers’ needs into account as you plan and execute your firm’s migration to private, public, and hybrid clouds, the chances are good that you’ll wind up with a “customers last” strategy—one that will keep you from being competitive.

If your IT architects ignore the need to plan a customer cloud strategy, your firms' customer-facing apps will continue to be developed and deployed by different groups within your organization. Some of these applications will run on proprietary home-grown systems; some will be deployed via the Internet; others will be downloaded on customers’ mobile devices. Your company will wind up with an unmanageable, brittle, and fragmented set of mobile apps, customer portals, and intelligent networks and systems that do not represent your brand well. Customers will not have an integrated view that lets them manage their relationships with your firm and their products. Customers won’t have confidence that their data is consistent and up-to-date.

Therefore you should LEAD your cloud strategy with your customer cloud. That way, you’ll be able to provide customers with a rich environment for managing and interacting with the assets they’ve purchased from you. It will be easier to keep customers’ mobile devices, your customer portals, and their intelligent products in synch.

However, when dealing with your firm, your customers will also expect and require more privacy and security from you than they do from Facebook or Google. They expect you to keep their personal and transactional data away from hackers who may be intent on stealing their identity or on compromising their data. They also expect you to keep their personal information free from spying by government entities. When customers are dealing with you, they expect you to protect their privacy.


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