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Cloud assessment: A path to improving customer experience

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CustomerExperiencejpgThe value proposition of cloud computing — the delivery model for digital innovation — has evolved from cost reduction and scalability to mobility and cognitive computing.

One benefit is a path to improving customer loyalty using cognitive services available through cloud to create personalized promotions and interactive customer support.

This thinking has extended the notion of a cloud assessment beyond traditional IT and into advanced analysis aimed at improving customer experience. The purpose of this customer-focused approach is not “Which cloud is the best fit for the application?” but is instead, “Which cloud is most ready for innovation in addition to hosting services?”

The traditional approach to a cloud suitability assessment is to evaluate IT systems using predetermined criteria and identifying the best-fitting cloud hosting environment.  The goals of this evaluation are cost reduction, scalability, agility and flexibility. The assessment often results in creating a hybrid cloud (private and public) for enterprise-level customers.

Based on each organization’s IT requirements and policies, it is critical to tailor evaluation criteria and business rules, which typically include latency (performance), availability, hardware dependency, data security/privacy and demand predictability. The end result is a migration of applications into the cloud, but that alone is not enough to be competitive in many markets.

However, these assessments are the foundation of a new analysis that aims to transform legacy IT systems into cloud-based systems that deliver enhanced services to customers.

This new cloud assessment requires additional evaluation criteria, such as cross-platform portability, integration complexity, interoperability (open technology) and cognitive computing applicability. These criteria can overlap with architectural design principles that enable innovative services through IT systems running in the cloud.

Below are some questions that may help you identify any gaps and accomplish your innovation goals that go beyond traditional cloud migration.

  • Is the cloud environment hypervisor agnostic to application portability?
  • Is the cloud environment interoperable in that it uses open technologies (such as OpenStack, Cloud Foundry or Spark)?
  • Will cognitive computing help you discover invisible patterns and enhance services?
  • Can the application architecture be converted into microservices with REST APIs so each service can be independently updated as well as scale out on demand?
  • Can APIs for multiple applications and services be centrally managed in the cloud?

This extended assessment will land your systems or applications in a cognitive ready cloud environment so you can accelerate the design and implementation of innovative services.

The potential for these services is almost unlimited when you consider the new insights made possible by cognitive computing. Cognitive services process a tremendous amount of structured and unstructured data generated by billions of mobile devices every day.

It’s time to go beyond migrating applications and systems to the cloud. It is critical to evaluate not only the cloud readiness of your system, but also look into its readiness for innovations that could revolutionize customer experiences. Doing so could propel your digital transformation.

Contact me on Twitter @dsong12 or LinkedIn to learn more about IBM Cloud Platform solutions and cloud suitability assessments. Learn more about solutions revolutionizing customer experiences with technology at Amplify 2016.

IBM Cloud Advisor

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