“Best of” Customer Cloud Articles
We’ve been writing a lot recently about “Customer Clouds.” It’s a term we coined. And it’s a movement we’re fully behind. Most of you rely on us for thought leadership around customer-impacting technology trends. This time, we may be WAY out in front of the parade. But we don’t think so. What’s a “Customer Cloud”? It’s the on-demand computing and networking infrastructure that enables your customers to securely manage their information, their assets, their events, their stuff, and their projects from their mobile devices and/or from their computers.
To catch you up, here are our three best articles on Customer Clouds:
- What's Your Customer Cloud Strategy? Twelve Customer Requirements to Include as Your Firm Migrates to Cloud Computing
- Cloud Computing in 2015: End-Customers’ Priorities Will Drive Companies’ Customer Cloud Implementations
- Priorities for Microsoft’s New CEO: Focus on Cross-Platform Mobile Application Development & Customer Clouds
Mobile = Customer Clouds in Your Pocket
The fact is that mobile application development is driving most companies’ customer, brand, marketing, and IT strategies these days. Mobile and Cloud go together. They need each other. Mobile apps need secure access to customer data from anywhere. Clouds are a good way to provide that ubiquity. They aggregate customer data and keep customers’ information synchronized across all their devices.
Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, HP are all competing in the cloud space. They all want to win market share by providing the most popular cloud services, cloud hosting environments, and cloud development environments for new and existing businesses and for consumers to use.
Customer Clouds Provide a Useful Lens for Evaluating Cloud Strategies
We’ve decided to focus on the use case of creating customer clouds as a good way to evaluate the relevance of these different players’ cloud offerings for customer-centric execs. Cloud Computing is an interesting technology because it relates to making it easy for customers to do business with you and making it easy for customers to get things done.
Why the Location of Your Clouds Matters
Cloud computing is supposed to be nebulous. Developers don’t need to know or care what computers are being used, or where those computers actually sit. In fact, programmers who write software today often never see the computer that software is running on. They create a computer out of thin air. It’s called a Virtual Machine. It sits in some cloud somewhere, and it runs the programs created by the developer. Voila! Cloud computing.
Five years ago, Ronni Marshak and I did some customer co-design and customer advisory board work with a client whose business customers were companies that developed and deployed Cloud services: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). None of these customers mentioned cloud jurisdiction as an issue when we interviewed them before the Customer Advisory Board meeting. The topic of where cloud computing farms are hosted only came up tangentially in the actual discussions.
Then we got them to create Customer Scenario Maps. When we asked these business IT professionals to put themselves in the shoes of their clients and to role-play the decision-making process their clients go through in deciding whether or not to choose a cloud-based solution, they all discussed the fact that their customers needed to know WHERE—in what country—their data actually resided. It had to do with the U.S. Patriot Act, they explained. Non-U.S. customers were not willing to host their customer data in U.S. territory or in a physical data warehouse that is owned by a U.S.-based company. Why? Because they feared that the U.S. government could demand to see their customer information. (Note that this was years before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance practices.) They want on to explain that their Spanish customers wanted their customer data hosted in Spain and their German customers wanted to be sure it stayed in Germany. Their clients valued the flexibility of SaaS and Cloud. They valued the benefits of being able to expand and contract their computing resources within minutes. They appreciated the cost benefits of pay-as-use it computing infrastructure. But they needed to have control over where their customer data actually resided. What country was it in? What legal jurisdiction?
Last week, IBM made some major announcements about its cloud strategy. The most important thing I heard amid all the new capabilities was IBM’s focus on expanding its cloud footprint into as many places in the world as possible, because customers need control over the jurisdiction in which their customers’ data resides.
Where Are Your Clouds? Location Matters!
Why Your Customer Data Belongs in the Cloud and Why You Need to Control Jurisdiction
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Sr. Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, March 6, 2014