What’s Your Customer Cloud Strategy?


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With the looming Facebook IPO and the flap about Google’s new privacy policies on many peoples’ minds, we thought it would be a good time to step back and think about how customers want to use the cloud.

The Cloud Stores and Synchronizes Information for Us. When we think of consumer cloud offerings, we think of capabilities like Apple’s iCloud, which is useful for backing up our photographs, keeping our digital music libraries, and synchronizing all of our data across our various mobile and non-mobile i-friendly devices. If we use any of the current Apple devices and software, iCloud is available to us as a free service. If we want to use Apple’s Music Match service, or to buy additional storage in the iCloud, we can pay extra.

We Don’t Need to Know What Computers and Operating Systems Run in the Cloud. As customers, we know that the cloud is “out there” somewhere. It’s on the Internet. We don’t much care where it is. In fact, that’s the benefit to us. All of the stuff that we care about is backed up and synchronized using these ephemeral services that run “out there, somewhere.” The “cloud” that Apple offers us is actually powered by physical computers that run in one or more physical data centers in one or more regions of the world. But we don’t care where they are or what they are, as long as they keep running and backing up and synchronizing our data.

We Trade Privacy/Anonymity for Free Consumer Cloud Services
Facebook is also a cloud. It’s a set of interconnected applications that are accessible via the Internet. We know that when we use Facebook’s services for free, we’re paying by exposing our personal data to the rest of the world, and by empowering Facebook’s marketing analytics to target advertising to us.

Google’s cloud-based services include search, maps, YouTube, and many apps, including Gmail. What has a lot of people up in arms is Google’s new privacy policy which will aggregate all of our behavior across all Google apps and mine that behavior (what directions we search for, what searches we do, what videos we watch, which blogs we read) in order to better target advertising to us. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone that the quid pro quo for the free lunch we all enjoy as we use Google services and Facebook’s services, and maybe even Apple’s iCloud, is more personalized information and targeted ads.

What’s Your BUSINESS Cloud Strategy for Your Customers?
The same people who, as consumers, use Google or Facebook, are also your customers. Yet, when they do business with your company online or via a mobile phone app, they rightly expect that those interactions are private. The balance in my bank account is for me and my bank to know; not the rest of the world. So, as a customer, I don’t want your company to put my private information “out there” for anyone to stumble upon it. On the other hand, I don’t actually care what computers you use, where those computers are, or whether you even own any physical computers. As long as my data is safe, backed up, and private, I don’t care how you manage your computing resources. So, if you keep my data secure and private in a private cloud, and give me access to it from my mobile devices, my home and business computers, and keep everything up-to-date and synchronized, I am much more likely to be a happy and loyal customer than if you make me log onto different web sites and applications and grovel through your systems and your processes to manage MY stuff.

That brings us to the concept of a Customer Cloud: a secure, private cloud that is designed to let business customers manage their stuff.

What’s Your Customer Cloud Strategy?
Twelve Customer Requirements to Include as Your Firm Migrates to Cloud Computing
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Senior Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, January 12, 2012

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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