Comarch is a provider of innovative IT solutions for multiple industries, including telecommunications, banking, financial & insurance companies, airlines, petrol stations, utilities, healthcare and SMEs. Comarch has 25 years of industry experience and 5500 first-class professionals from Polish and foreign universities.

Loyalty360 sat down with Lukasz Lacniak, Product Manager at Comarch Cloud Infraspace, to discuss cloud solutions.

How have cloud solutions evolved in the last few years? What does the road ahead look like within the digital landscape?
Certainly, we are well into the mainstream phase of the adoption of cloud services. The headline of any recent cloud industry report is that cloud is here to stay. Over 96% of enterprises are using it in one way or another. In fact, most often, they are using it in many ways at the same time. Over 80% of enterprises have already implemented a multi-cloud strategy. Interestingly, even the most conservative organizations, historically known for their cautious approach to innovative services, are adopting public cloud services. It was unthinkable to propose public cloud services to a financial institution back in the day. Now, as the number of disruptive FinTechs is growing rapidly, they have to react. And there are more market sectors to be disrupted very soon in a similar way thanks to the wide availability and maturity of cloud services.

What are some of the biggest mistakes Comarch is seeing within its client base in terms of technological utilization, specifically cloud usage?
IT is a serious and immensely complex business, especially when we look at long-established large enterprises. Even though cloud services are usually marketed as easy to implement and almost magical in terms of their capabilities of solving any business problem, the reality is that they sometimes only mask the complexity behind modern and sleek interfaces, or remove some of it, only to add more elsewhere. It is imperative to have either in-house expertise or a trusted partner who can implement your cloud strategy, manage it and control it in an organized manner. Probably by taking baby steps first, as migrating to the cloud is a significant challenge, and must be done with caution.

For major brands/vendors reluctant to turn towards cloud solutions, what would you say is the number one compelling reason for them to make the switch?
Cloud services are simply new, efficient and very capable tools that can be used to address specific business challenges. It’s certainly not magic, and it’s no case of vaporware, quite the opposite. It’s very important to learn and understand what’s available, and to use the cloud when it’s the best tool to solve a specific problem. Some business problems are still better solved with traditional on-premises/private IT solutions, still, there might be benefits of merging this approach with cloud-enabling technologies.  We have witnessed many cases in which dedicated, private clouds were the best of both agile and secure worlds.

What investments in transferring to the cloud model solutions previously offered by Comarch in the traditional model have recently been made by your company, and what prompted the decision?
We decided to make one of our best-known applications, Comarch Loyalty Management (CLM), available in the cloud model. CLM Cloud is a modular loyalty application that allows companies to manage the complete loyalty program lifecycle. The solution is available with a subscription payment plan. Comarch clients can enjoy the full functionality of the application just a few weeks after signing the contract. We decided to do this because a lot of forward-looking enterprises now rely on loyalty management tools to handle their most crucial customer interactions simply, efficiently and responsively, without the need for time-consuming project implementation.  CLM Cloud is provided as a pay per use service, which means the platform power is always perfectly scaled to our clients’ prevailing needs.

Are cloud solutions applicable to businesses within all industries, or are you witnessing some sectors seeing better results than others?
A satisfied customer is equally valuable for a car retailer, a car parts manufacturer, a bank and a city council. And cloud services are quite effective in removing barriers and friction in delivering value to customers. No matter which industry you are coming from, it’s worth taking time to develop your cloud services toolset and use it to the benefit of your most valuable asset – your customers. Clearly, there are some situations for which public cloud services simply aren’t a good fit for one reason or another. However, there are many cloud-enabling technologies that can and should be used to retain your customers, attract new ones and simply keep pace with cloud-native challengers.

Are there risks associated with cloud sharing in terms of data privacy? With everything being Internet-based, do specific institutions need to be concerned about possible hacking?
Modern cloud services are definitely mature enough to be considered even for business-critical workloads and sensitive data. Modern clouds are actually safer than most traditional IT solutions, as cloud security was originally one of the greatest concerns that had to be addressed early and properly. But again, it is important to understand, that the cloud is not a silver bullet, removing all of your responsibility for your data security.
Of course, data security in the cloud isn’t a one-dimensional challenge. There are, for instance, some legislative initiatives (the US Cloud Act, for instance) that are quite concerning in the context of usage of cloud services provided by US vendors.

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