Cloud as a Business Enabler – Part 2: Digital Customer Experience

The keys to the kingdom

24/7 availability, real time responsiveness, VIP level support, fulfilment of individual needs, … As a customer, we all expect to be treated like a member of the royal family that got out on the wrong side of the bed on a monday morning. As if that isn’t challenging enough, it takes very little for us to lose interest and start looking for a better alternative. Can’t manage your investments in the mobile app? A good enough reason to switch banks! Website not responding? Forget about it! As a customer, we – and yes, I include myself here – belong in the neediness hall of fame.

According to Walker, Customer Experience is going to overtake price and product (!) as the key brand differentiator by 2020. The Digital Customer Experience – the impression that a customer walks away after interacting with your digital interfaces – will be a huge influence and will determine whether or not the customer will return for future transactions.

The importance of Customer Experience according to Walker

Source: Walker

Let’s see how the cloud and more specifically cloud native apps* can help your Digital Customer Experience take a turn for the better.
*My previous blogpost has a short introduction on this.

 

Peak performance

When Pokémon GO was getting ready to launch, the engineering team load-tested their software stack to handle up to 5x their most optimistic traffic rates. Sounds very reasonable right? Little did they know that the game was about to become the highest grossing mobile game of 2017, with more than 11 000 000 active users in the first two (!) weeks. The actual load was 55x more than anticipated at that time. This of course is an extreme case, but on a more down to earth scale the same situation may arise when your business is subject to (unexpected) peak loads at times. An example would be an e-Commerce website during Black Friday, the online tax registration on the last day before the deadline or time registration during a large sports event.

Pokemon graph

Now, how do you prepare for something like that, keeping in mind that you don’t want any service interuptions along the way? Investing in the necessary hardware to support a potential scenario like this, only to turn up with an actual usage of 1% is obviously not feasible. Investing too little will inevitably lead to you losing customers because of a bad Digital Customer Experience. There is just no way to achieve the elasticity and flexibility needed using a classical infrastructure driven approach.

The only way to achieve this is by completely abstracting away the infrastructure layer, building on top of inherently scalable platform components that are provided by the cloud. This will ensure horizontal scalability that is nearly limitless, combined with a pay per use model that will ensure that you only pay for what you actually need, when you need it.

 

Close to your customers

If you live in a small country like Belgium, one way to grow your Digital business is to expand geographically. From a technical point of view, there’s not much that can keep online services from crossing borders, so at a first glance it even seems like an easy thing to do. But what if your servers are still located in Belgium and your customer has a branch office in Hong Kong? Can they expect the same responsiveness as a local user? Most likely this will not be the case because of latency issues.

These kinds of scenarios can be improved by applying geo optimization, where the content that needs to be delivered is placed as closely as possible to your customers. This is another powerful feature offered in the cloud, where most platform services allow you to do just that in a click of a button. Static content like pictures and style sheets can be delivered near your users with the help of CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), data can be synchronised between multiple database instances accross the globe and apps can be hosted anywhere in the world. A huge level up for your Digital Customer Experience while completely abstracting out the infrastructre underneath.

Geo optimization using the public cloud

Source: dmg.st

Continuous Improvement

Providing the best possible Digital Customer Experience requires you to always stay one step ahead of the competition. This means continuously improving the service that you provide and putting updated functionality out there quickly, regularly and with a persistant high quality.

As a developer, I remember the days where I had to fill in forms with hardware specs to request a development environment. With a bit of luck, the environment would be made available after a couple of weeks, allowing me to start installing all sorts of prerequisites – and the story would go on like that.

What if your developers could use this time for writing code and do the actual value creation instead? They could be if you decide to adopt cloud technology where all this can be abstracted away by using Platform As a Service components. Next to that, cloud native applictions give you the edge by providing the best possible development experience, allowing you to code, test and deploy new functionality in a fully automated fashion – all within an integrated environment.

All this will help you get improvements out there faster than your competitors and convince your customers to stay with you a bit longer. No matter how needy they are.

Am I sparking your interest yet? 😊

I will go into more detail on developer experience & productivity in the next part of this series.

Key takeaways

Cloud native software will help you deliver the best Digital Customer Experience by:

  • guaranteeing optimal system performance no matter how high the system load
  • putting the services, data and digital media close to your customers
  • allowing you to release new functionalities quicky, regularly and with a persistant high quality

 

Written by Tom Callant, Digital Director at LoQutus

 

Get in touch if you have any questions or to see how we can help you!