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The New Hybrid Cloud

Integrating CRM, ERP, And IoT For Optimal Customer Service

CIOs are nowadays weaving together new IT architectures that combine the latest in public cloud services with the best of their own private on-premise cloud data centers. These hybrid cloud solutions are taking off very quickly, and are supposed to grow at a CAGR of 27.3% from 2014 to 2019, according to researcher MarketsandMarkets.

The best hybrid cloud infrastructures deliver top benefits including scalability, flexibility, user adoption and cost-efficiency while enabling mobile and social digital capabilities.

Because a hybrid cloud is configured to use both private and public clouds, it allows organizations, access to significant economies of scale without exposing mission-critical applications or vital data to third-party vulnerabilities.

I work with many enterprise executives who are faced with daunting challenges like delivering a best-in-class customer experience. Several customers would like to have the ability to track order status from any location or any device. Another set of customers might like personalized notifications on merchandises, deals and even birthday greetings after visiting a retail store of their choice.

In today’s world, enterprises are fascinated by the prospect of making the most of their technology capabilities to navigate complex challenges related to rising customer expectations. Leveraging the hybrid-cloud realm is part of the answer, as it brings the speed and agility that companies need to realign in order to meet ever increasing customer expectations.

So, what does all this mean for organizations? There is actually a paradigm shift in customer experience. In the new model, we utilize the capabilities of the hybrid cloud to orchestrate data and computing resources across private and public infrastructures. When you add in this complex mix, the data collected from sensors – think Internet of Things (IoT), then there is the potential to remarkably change how a real “value addition” is provided to standard customer services.

Creating an Omnichannel Experience with the Hybrid Cloud

Today’s customers want a true omnichannel experience. They want to log in to a mobile app and have it already know that they have already tried an online request, visited the retail store, and bought two kinds of widgets. What they don’t want is any sort of hassle or lengthy processes. They don’t want to waste time on privacy or performance issues.

South African telecom provider Cell C has figured this out. It uses Oracle Cloud for real-time reporting on customer trends and employee performance, and it has integrated this with its CRM tools. Cell C also plans to seize the opportunity presented by the hybrid cloud to redo its website and mobile website to provide a seamless experience for its customers.

Leveraging IoT for the Ultimate Customer Experience

There’s a next step for companies that want to provide optimal customer service, and that involves IoT. Utilizing the data collected from millions of sensors for machine-to-machine or machine-to-human interaction and specifically communication with “things” is what is pivotal to IoT. All this means is perhaps petabytes of data which have to be processed in real time. Think about the millions of devices which are currently connected: fitness trackers, RFID trackers, and connected home monitoring. Also, retail locations are experimenting with bluetooth sensors that push information to consumers when they shop (with the consumer’s consent, of course).

The sheer volume of data collected at these points requires high infrastructure availability, elasticity and scalability at optimal costs And that is why, the hybrid cloud is becoming more and more attractive with each passing day. It can handle bursts of data and traffic with requisite elasticity. It is ideal for big data analytics which is necessary to glean meaningful insights from sensor data. When integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, the data can be used to personalize messages and provide a simplified experience for the customer.

For example, health-conscious consumers often wear devices like fitbits or Apple Watches, monitoring their heart rate, steps taken, and other metrics that are then uploaded and aggregated in Internet-based portals and shared with online connections. This provides a fantastic opportunity to move to the next phase of hybrid cloud use: applications that combine cloud-based analytics with customer data from CRM systems and the Internet of Things.

The Underpinnings on Hybrid Cloud

Data analytics, backed by big data capabilities, is going to play a critical role in the days to come. It will become the driving force behind IoT and CRM/(ERP) integration very soon. This is why there is such a sustained push within organizations to adopt hybrid cloud.

Using a hybrid cloud allows companies to tap into the power of massive volumes and variety of data without significant infrastructure investments and without needing to wait for hardware to be purchased, shipped, configured, and deployed. Concurrently, it allows for storage management of sensitive and confidential data, and we can also leverage the enormous capacity of public cloud for enhanced reach.

What this ultimately means, as IoT continues to expand into daily life, is that companies are poised to provide a level of service unlike any other. It’s a way to differentiate in a market saturated with choices and goes beyond loyalty cards to provide a substantively deeper value and personalized meaning to the customer. By integrating CRM, ERP and IoT, and by using hybrid cloud as the underpinning model to support digital enhancements, companies can radically alter the customer experience in a seemingly magical fashion.