Amazon Warns Against Customer Engagement Cloud Conformity

Amazon & Pegasystems ArticleWhen people talk about “The Cloud” it assumes an almost mystical quality. This Cloud, of course, is generally used as a metaphor for the Internet, and it has become an instrumental part of our daily lives. For customer engagement professionals, a host of empowering cloud-based services are now literally transforming the nature of business and marketing. As the customer experience becomes increasingly digital, more and more cloud native applications are being generated.

“Cloud has not only become the new normal, Cloud has become the better normal,” Brian Matsubara, Head of Global Technology Alliances for Amazon Web Services, said on stage during PegaWORLD 2015. “There are so many things that we can do now that were technically, financially, and physically impossible just three or four years ago. The ability to have a centralized aggregation of an infinite amount of storage, surrounded by a near infinite amount of computing capacity, allows customers to solve problems in ways they could not even fathom solving before.”

But the session titled, “The Cloud: Enabling Strategic Applications,” which also featured Don Schuerman, CTO and VP of Product Marketing for Pegasystems, also brought marketers more than a few words of caution.

Just because these cloud native applications exist does not mean that they are right for every business.Amazon & Pegasystems Callout

“There are a lot of cloud native applications that are convenient and kind of useful, they do their job, but they are not particularly special,” Schuerman said. “Everyone ends up with exactly the same app. They are not going to differentiate your businesses. They are not going to separate your organization from other organizations; they are not going to let you reflect your brand to the customer. The Cloud is an incredibly empowering tool, but on its own, it does not distinguish your business.”

What’s more, a generic application could be the least of a brand’s cloud-based problems. Schuerman warns that the wrong app can actually do damage by failing to keep up with the evolving demands of a business, or by even recreating silos that many native Cloud services promise to eliminate.

The Cloud, of course, can and should be a vital part of a brand’s customer engagement initiatives. However, the right cloud applications must be considered over any available application. It needs to be organically connected to the enterprise, to become a natural extension of data centers. It also needs to be flexible and able to adapt quickly to changing customer expectations, to strategically connect customers and anticipate needs.

Schuerman urges brands to reach beyond conforming cloud native apps by implementing truly strategic cloud-based platforms. This will help brands stay ahead of their customers by recommending the next best action, the right offer, the right service, and it will help a brand to understand the right product to launch next.

Many of these services evolve fast, so brands must also redouble their commitment to keep up with the new technology that can address changing customer needs. Amazon Web Services has been offering these kinds of services for almost a decade now. And considering the rapid pace of social and technological evolution, a decade is actually quite a long time.

Matsubara offered some perspective.

“The pace of innovation is so rapid these days, that standing still is the equivalent of moving backwards,” he said. “Today, agility is the most important thing for businesses. From an IT stand point, months, weeks, and days are not good enough. Even hours aren’t good enough now. That is the speed in which business moves. Cloud gives our partners the ability to meet these demands and actually do fundamentally industry-changing and customer impacting things that they couldn’t do before.”

The message was clear. Brands and marketers cannot ignore the Cloud. But they should be much more critical when deciding which applications to integrate.

Such applications should offer the connected, flexible, and strategic solutions that best address the changing needs of the customer.

About the Author: Mark Johnson

Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty360. He has significant experience in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs.

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